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Woolworths' Countdown to ban single-use plastic bags by 2018

New Zealand supermarket chain Countdown Foodmarkets Ltd. announced Oct. 4 that it will phase out single-use plastic bags from its online and brick-and-mortar stores by the end of 2018.

The move will remove about 350 million plastic bags every year from the waste stream and environment, the company said.

To encourage customers, the retailer said it will permanently reduce the price of reusable bags to NZ$1 each from NZ$1.39 beginning Oct. 9.

Countdown is a subsidiary of Progressive Enterprises Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Australia's Woolworths Ltd.

As of Oct. 4, US$1 was equivalent to NZ$1.40.