Single use plastics

Last updated: 05 Jul, 2023 04:58pm


Bans and restrictions

Single use definition

Report non-compliance

Find out more

Bans and restrictions

Plastics waste is one of our generation’s greatest environmental challenges – regularly ending up in landfills or the ocean.

Shifting away from hard-to-recycle and single-use plastics will help reduce plastic waste, improve our recycling systems and protect our environment.

Plastics are being phased out to support our country’s move towards a low-emissions, low-waste economy.

What's banned?

From 1 July 2023, the Government has banned or restricted the following single-use plastics:

  1. Produce bags provided and used to pack fresh fruits and vegetables at the place of sale
  2. Tableware (eg, plates, bowls and cutlery)
  3. Straws*will only be allowed for disabled people and those with health needs
  4. Non-compostable produce labels will be phased out over two stages:
    • From 1 July 2023, non-home compostable plastic produce labels for domestic fruit & vegetables are banned (not including adhesive).
    • From 1 July 2025, the whole label, including its adhesive, must be home compostable, including labels on imported produce.

Compostable, recyclable, biodegradable or ‘plant-based’ plastic alternatives are also banned for all items, except produce labels. The Ministry for the Environment will manage compliance and enforcement for these regulations.

What is not included?

The bans do not include:

  • Plastic straws attached to packaging (eg, milk and juice boxes) will be exempt until 1 Jan 2026.
  • Single-use plastic containers that come with a lid.
  • Single-use plastic bags used for other fresh or cooked food (eg, deli meats, seafood or cheese, dried or preserved produce such as nuts)
  • Produce bags used for pre-packed produce (eg, bags of potatoes or spinach, or sleeves for leafy greens) – see examples below.


Access to plastic straws for disabled people

Plastic straws are vital for many people who rely on them to drink and eat because of a disability. Supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitality businesses, education and charitable organisations and health and disability support services will still be allowed to stock plastic straws for disabled people if they choose. People who need plastic straws will still be able to purchase them online through stores like Amazon or AliExpress. People do not need to provide proof of disability or health need to access a plastic straw.

Single-use definition

In the Waste Minimisation regulations, single-use means an item is designed to be used once or a limited number of times before being thrown away. Other questions to consider are

  • Is the item supplied in a context where it is likely to be used once and then disposed of (eg. cutlery to consume food at a market or in a food court where it cannot be easily returned for washing and reuse)
  • Is the item supplied free or at low cost?
  • If the item is described as reusable, is it suitable for repeated dish washing?


Report non-compliance

You can report non-compliance of the new rules through the Report Plastic online form.  This online tool will include the new items to be banned from 1 July 2023.

Find out more


You can find out more about the new rules at the Ministry for the Environment’s Plastic phase out web page.

Information Sessions

You can also book a place at an information session [book on EventBrite].


You can contact MofE for more information on email at , or call 0800 499 700

Information sheet

Download the Phasing out problem plastics in Aotearoa pdf factsheet.