Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Australia's Coles backtracking on bag ban

Australia's Coles backtracking on bag ban

"And please don't get me started on the wasteful plastic mini-Coles supermarket toys, while they promote their anti-plastic message".

Coles has been handing out reusable plastic bags to most of its Australian customers since July 1, when it introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags.

Greenpeace spokeswoman Zoe Dean criticised the decision as irresponsible and disappointing, and that Coles is perpetuating the problem of plastic waste by providing free bags.

Harris Farm removed all plastic bags from its stores in January, replaced with free reusable paper bags and cardboard boxes, with an estimated reduction of 15 million single use bags saved from landfill and waterways.

According to, Coles chief executive officer John Durkan sent an email to his 115,000 staff saying the free bag offer would be extended until August 29th.

Twelve months ago, both Woolworths and Coles announced they would phase out single-use bags from July 1 this year, but the transition appeared to spark a backlash which saw Woolworths continue to give away free reusable bags for an extra 10 days in July.

"We now renew our call of Gladys Berejiklian and the State Government to enforce a ban of single use plastic bags immediately".

It's a question that has prompted a global call to action: how do you best eliminate single-use plastic bags, before they further pollute our oceans?

In a statement today, the supermarket chain said complimentary bags were still an "interim measure" to help customers make the transition to reusable bags.

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Coles and its larger rival Woolworths account for around 70 percent of the Australian supermarket trade.

Customers will continue to get rewarded with 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout if they keep in mind to come armed with their own bags.

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

Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel told the Herald Sun the Coles' latest decision was a "weak act".

"They have a very limited life and the removal of the price signal also means they are more likely to be littered - something we warned about".

Now, thicker reusable bags which had previously cost 15 cents each will be handed out for free.

Customers who bring their own bags are being rewarded with free Flybuys points.

Coles confirmed its second U-turn - the indefinite giveaway - on Wednesday.

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