Coles backflips on plastic bags ... again

Aug 04, 2018, 09:08
Coles backflips on plastic bags ... again

That decision copped flak from shoppers struggling to keep in mind to bring their own bags and on Wednesday the supermarket was roundly slammed by environmentalists and customers after announcing it would be giving away free plastic bags at the checkout indefinitely.

Most state governments in Australia have banned thin single-use bags or have plans to ban them, and the supermarket giant had pledged to phase them out from July 1.

"We are extending our complimentary bag offer until Wednesday 29 August for our customers in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA", Durkan wrote, in an email seen by Junkee.

Harris Farm Markets has historically been vocal about the issue, previously teaming up with Clean Up Australia, who this afternoon also displayed displeasure at Coles' announcement.

The U.N. wants to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022 and says more than 60 countries have so far taken steps to ban or reduce plastic consumption.

Customers will continue to get rewarded with 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout if they do not forget to come armed with their own bags.

'Complimentary bags are meant to be an interim measure to help customers make the transition to reusable bags, ' a spokesperson for Coles said.

Coles offered them through July and then yesterday announced an "indefinite" extension to the giveaway, which in turn sparked an additional backlash from recycling advocates who said the lack of value in the bags would effectively turn them into single use.

With threats of a shopping boycott by environmentally minded shoppers, Coles announced on Thursday that customers would start paying for bags on August 29.

Environmentalists have slammed Coles' decision, with Boomerang Alliance Director Jeff Angel labelling Coles' latest move a "weak act", reports The Herald Sun.

"Giving away reusable plastic bags is an environmental disaster, this just increases the amount of plastic that will now make its way into our waterways", he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two so we are offering complimentary reusable Better Bags to help them complete their shopping".

Another: "Absolutely disgraceful that with all the obvious and overwhelming evidence of plastic ruining every part of the environment.You can't even follow through with such a common sense request for the benefit of our planet".

But in a stunning reversal, Thursday saw them announce August 29 as the date the bags will go back to costing customers 15 cents.

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