Woolies to ban single-use plastic bags

Single-use plastic bags in supermarkets will soon be a thing of the past.

Woolworths has announced it will implement a ban on single-use plastic bags throughout its Australian stores within the next year.

A statement released by Woolworths on 14 July said the company wanted to contribute to efforts that reduce plastic bag usage and saw the decision as the right thing to do as one of Australia’s largest retailers.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “As a group we are committed to listening to our customers and also doing the right thing for the environment, and we feel this is an issue we need to take a stand on.”

“We currently give out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags a year and hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage. Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously,” he said.

A new 15c bag will be introduced by the company, which C&I understands will be cost neutral for the business.

A spokesperson for Woolworths said customers will have access to a range of alternative shopping bag options including thicker, reusable variations at different price points to suit consumer needs.

“Customers should be assured that we will provide full support during the roll out of this new initiative ensuring our customers continue to have a positive shopping experience at Woolworths,” he said.

Supermarket retailer Coles also made a similar announcement not long after Woolworths; however there is still uncertainty as to how to this will affect convenience retailers down the line.

Australasian Association of Convenience Stores CEO Jeff Rogut said the convenience industry puts its customers first.

“Many purchases are smaller, and bought on the go etc so our overall usage of bags is nowhere near that of supermarkets,” he said.

Mr Rogut said making consumers pay extra to bag their groceries could result in a spike in online and home deliveries if customers are unwilling to pay money for bags when they shop.

“Will be interesting to measure the results and perceived benefits,” he said.

In an article written for the Herald Sun, political commentator Andrew Bolt said it was convenient for Woolworths and Coles to announce their decisions so close together.

“Convenient for them, but an absolute pain in the neck for shoppers, who must now bring their own bags or buy them at the checkout for 15c,” he said.

“Seems the supermarkets are listening to the activists, not their customers.”

Do Something managing director Jon Dee said the announcement from both supermarkets was good news.

“We now need to see Coles taking the same stance as Woolworths in phasing out the use of plastic bags and charging for thicker plastic bags,” he told News.com.au.

“Banning thin plastic bags and charging for thicker plastic bags is the approach that Aldi has taken since they first started in Australia in 2001. There’s no reason why this approach can’t be taken by all retailers.”


1 thought on “Woolies to ban single-use plastic bags”

  1. The disappointing thing here is that many of the bags are not single usage. They are used time and again from being used as rubbish bags, wrap important items for safe keeping, protect items from spoilage in cars, boats, caravans etc. Because they are cheap and easily accessible they can be used for all sorts of things. Paying for more expensive bags will push up the cost of shopping, but also watch the sales for plastic bin liners to increase substantially. I think it is fair to say that plastic bag usage will fall, but not by the amount the greenies hope, and the major impact will be that the 15c bags won’t disintegrate in the sun the same way the current bags do so will in fact be worse for the environment. How about we focus on stamping out littering by making it is anti social as smoking through advertising and education. It is people who litter, not the bags. Thanks Pollies and Greenies for another agenda that really doesn’t hit the spot.

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