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BREAKING: Woolworths and Coles Officially Bid Goodbye to Plastic Bags

Friday, July 14, 2017 | Comments (0)

In a major development in the fight against plastic bags, supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles announced today that they would completely ban single-use plastic bags across all their stores over the next 12 months.

Woolworths was the first to make the announcement, saying it would affect branches in New South Wales, Western Australia, and Victoria—states that have yet to implement their own state-wide bans (Queensland plans to follow suit next year).

Woolworths said it would offer customers stronger, reusable plastic bags for .15¢. They may also bring reusable shopping bags of their own.

According to Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO, the decision was “the right thing to do as one of Australia’s largest retailers.” The company reportedly gives away over 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags a year. 

Banducci admits the move might inconvenience some of its shoppers in the short term, but ultimately, they’ll realise it’s a more sustainable way of doing their shopping.

Woolworths promised to work closely with their store teams to ensure a smooth transition to more sustainable packaging materials. The decision will apply to all Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores, its e-commerce operation Woolworths Online, BWS, and Big W. 

Coles Follows Suit

Not more than 3 hours after Woolworths’ announcement, rival Coles said it would also ban plastic bags in all stores across the country within the next 12 years. 

According to Coles CCO Simon McDowell, the company had already been mulling the announcement for some time, calling the decision a “part of our ongoing program to improve environmental outcomes throughout our business.”

Public Response

Terrie-Anne Johnson, managing director for Clean Up Australia, said the decision by Woolworths and Coles should encourage states that have yet to implement plastic bag bans to take action.   

Meanwhile, Samantha Wockner, plastics campaigner with Greenpeace Asia Pacific, said the decision shows the supermarket giants are listening to their customers, who, time and again, have said they no longer want to use single-use plastic bags. She expressed disappointment on how leadership on this issue came from large supermarket companies instead of government officials.

For more retail news and updates, be sure to follow this blog. If you’re looking for a supplier of high-quality paper bags and reusable shopping bags, Smartbag has you covered. Visit our contact page to get in touch with the Smartbag team.


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