Single-Use Plastics In New Zealand

On the first of October, new regulations came into effect. The regulations are about single-use plastic products.  In the past, we used to call these products “disposable”, meaning that you can use them once and then throw them away. But now people understand how bad this is for the environment. Making the products causes pollution, and they are very difficult to recycle. They break down into tiny particles that pollute the oceans and soil. It is not truly possible to dispose of them.

A few years ago, the New Zealand government banned single-use plastic bags from being used for shopping and takeaways. Now, there is a new ban on a range of single-use plastics. PVC and polystyrene containers have been banned and have to be replaced with things made from paper or recyclable plastics. This will include things like meat trays, cakes from the supermarket, coffee cups, coffee stirrers, and cotton buds.


Regulation: a law that controls daily life. Regulations are different from laws in that laws are usually about crime, but regulations are about more simple things, such as how big you can make a house, or what kind of petrol you can have in your car.

Come into effect: a verb phrase meaning that a law begins to be followed

Products: things that are made by people

Throw away: dispose of

Break down: break into smaller and smaller pieces or particles

Particles: tiny pieces

Soil: earth, or dirt

Takeaways: take-out; cooked food that you can buy and take home

A range of: a few, a variety of several different things

PVC: a kind of plastic that can’t be recycled

Polystyrene: a kind of plastic that is full of tiny air bubbles so it is soft. When you rub two pieces together, they squeak.

Recyclable: can be recycled

Tray: a flat container that is a little bit like a plate, but rectangle shape

Stirrer: a small stick for moving the water around in a cup. You might use a stirrer or a spoon if you put sugar in your coffee or tea.

Cotton bud: a small stick that has cotton wool on each end. People often use them for cleaning their ears (but the doctor says you should NOT!)

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