A petition titled Make Otautahi-Christchurch One Use Plastic Bag Free has gained more than 1700 signatures.
Campaign organiser Megan Blakie said more than 100 million plastic bags in Christchurch annually, while New Zealanders threw out up to 1.6 billion bags a year.
She said the earthquakes had given the people in Christchurch an opportunity to think about what type of city they wanted to live in.
Lack of action on the issue was a bit like "playing the fiddle while Rome burns", Blakie said.
The petition was presented to the Christchurch City Council Innovation and Sustainable Development committee, which agreed on four steps to reduce plastic bag use. The approach would tackle manufacturers and retailers.
The committee also agreed to put forward a national approach.
Blakie said it was only a matter of time before central government was forced to act.