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Published: 2017-07-27 15:00:00

A call for a levy on single-use plastic bags at supermarkets and shops is being supported by Waikato Regional Council.

The council’s meeting in Hamilton today voted to support an open letter from Wellington’s mayor asking the Government to require a national levy on single-use plastic bags at point of sale or to empower councils to determine a local position.

The letter has already been supported by 90 per cent of the country’s mayors.

Chairman Alan Livingston said a levy would help reduce the impact of plastic bags on the environment.

“These include causing direct harm to wildlife, the accumulation of toxins, contributing to landfills and unsightly litter.”

A staff report to the council said a compulsory levy in England had reduced plastic bag use by 85 per cent in six months and that such a levy here would be aligned with the regional waste strategy.

“Through this strategy we have a number of ongoing projects with local councils, community and industry which are focused on minimising waste and the harmful impacts that it has,” the report said.

Councillors also agreed to raise with Wellington’s mayor the ideas of using levy receipts for environmental clean-up purposes and of pushing for the use of biodegradable plastic bags.