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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Government of Niue

Niue has joined the global fight against plastic shopping bags or “single-use-plastic bags” by imposing a Prohibition Order on the importation of plastic shopping bags into Niue.

The Government of Niue under the authority of the Niue Customs Act 1966 has imposed the “Customs Import Prohibition (Plastic Shopping Bags) Order after receiving Cabinet approval on the 4th of February 2020.

The Order prohibits the importation of plastic shopping bags and is the culmination of the collaborative efforts of the Niue Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Natural Resources, the Niue Tourism Office, Crown Law Office and the enforcement agency Niue Customs Department.

Plastic shopping bags are well known to cause direct and in-direct harm to marine life and is a big contributor to the growing problem of microplastics in the marine environment, POPs burning, roadside litter, breeding ground for mosquitoes including contributing to the excessive rubbish around homes and communities.

Effective as of 1st March 2020, importers and suppliers will not be allowed to import plastic shopping bags however due to the shipping schedules there will be a transition period where existing stocks will be utilised by the 1st of June 2020. The prohibition order exempts “plastic that forms an integral part of the packaging in which goods are sealed or contained before use”.  

The Chamber of Commerce has taken the lead in promoting the use of re-usable shopping bags by placing signs outside the main shopping areas, encouraging shoppers to use cloth or re-usable shopping bags. Niue Tourism over the past few months have also distributed reusable shopping bags to households and villages.

Over the next few months the Ministry of Natural Resources, Chamber of Commerce and Niue Tourism including partner stakeholders will be initiating various initiatives and actions to address waste management on Niue. Prohibiting single use shopping bags is just one of many activities being put into action.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is encouraging all stakeholders to utilise recyclable shopping bags and re-use cardboard boxes when out shopping.