Thicker plastic bags free for Coles shoppers after outcry

Australian supermarket Coles gives in to customer pressure over plastic bags

Australian supermarket Coles gives in to customer pressure over plastic bags

The supermarket giant on Wednesday made a decision to provide its thick, reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely, instead of charging 15 cents each as part of its program to get shoppers to switch from using single-use plastic bags.

The supermarket giant has been handing out bags to customers in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia since July 1 when it brought in a ban on single-use plastic bags and told customers they'd have to pay for reusable bags.

A Coles spokesman said customer feedback indicated they needed more time to transition to reusable bags.

Greenpeace described Coles as irresponsible and disappointing.

However, if reusable plastic bags reach the oceans and other habitats, they could cause as much if not more damage than single-use bags now do.

Coles managing director John Durkan announced complimentary plastic bags would cease being handed out on August 29, in an email sent out to his 115,00 staff on Thursday.

Coles and rival Woolworths both recently banned single-use plastic bags and began selling reusable bags instead.

Woolworths has levied 15c per bag since July 8.

"These so-called reusable plastic bags are nearly as thin as the banned lightweight ones, " he said.

Environmental groups had hit out at Coles since their decision to extend the give-away period indefinitely, saying it was an "environmental disaster".

"We've found the majority of our customers across Australia have embraced the move to a more sustainable way of shopping", it said, adding that it would take 3.2 billion single-use bags out of circulation each year.

Now, I'm not advocating violence but what I would advocate is stop being a bunch of compliant saps and when somebody does something stupid, which this unquestionably is, go "it isn't good enough and I'm not going to stop with you until you change your policy".

Major retailers in all but two Australian states face fines if they supply single-use plastic bags.

Harris Farm Markets co-CEO Angus Harris called on the state government to enforce a ban on single-use plastic bags.

Also whilst we're here, can we talk about how stupid and useless that new Coles "mini-collectables" campaign is.

"Also, a public message to Brad Banducci and the team at Woolworths - please don't follow suit".

Coles will give its "Better Bags" away for free.

"We know we use way too much fossil fuel in the creation of plastic, and we actually just need to ban it".

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