Friday, 19 October, 2018

Plastic bag backlash: Coles to hand out free reusable bags 'indefinitely'

Coles Says It’ll Hand Out Reusable Bags For Free ‘Cos Shoppers Can’t Cope Australian supermarket Coles gives in to customer pressure over plastic bags
Sandy Nunez | 04 August, 2018, 09:08

Well it seems not after supermarket giant Coles backflipped on their promise to ban the plastic bag and announced it will offer reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.

Instead, they began offering more environmentally-friendly reusable bags for 15 Aus cents (11 U.S. cents) each, with Coles supplying them without charge until August 1 to help people adjust to the new regime.

The backlash prompted Coles to offer free reusable plastic bags to customers until August 1, to help them get their heads around the change.

They also called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the State Government to enforce a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags, and urged Woolworths not to follow in Coles' footsteps.

Greenpeace described Coles as irresponsible and disappointing.

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?

Coles copped enormous public backlash yesterday for its apparent decision to renege on its plastic bag ban, and it seems like that backlash outweighed the pressure they were copping from angry shoppers who didn't want to pay 15 cents per bag.

But after weathering a barrage of criticism during the past 24 hours, managing director John Durkan has told staff customers will have to start paying for the bags after August 29.

August 1 was supposed to be the cut-off date, but Coles said it would continue to offer these bags - which normally cost 15 cents - for free.

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"Coles' colossal plastic bag fail" and "Coles caves" ran headlines on Australia's main news sites.

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

In a statement sent to news.com.au, a spokeswoman for Woolworth said the majority of the chain's customers had "embraced the move to a more sustainable way of shopping", and thanked shoppers for their patience and support.

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

At the end of June, Woolworths announced it would hand out free reusable bags to customers for 10 days, because customers were underestimating the amount of bags they needed to bring.

Sally Edsall was also displeased.

Woolworths stopped giving the bags away for free on July 8.

"While a minority of people are struggling to cope, we know it's just a matter of time for people to adapt to the change".