Coles backs down on plastic bag ban

Australian supermarket Coles gives in to customer pressure over plastic bags

Greenpeace described Coles as irresponsible and disappointing.

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

Coles has announced a major backflip on the plastic bag ban, angering environmentalists.

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

Woolworths surveyed 12,500 customers in May about the phasing out of single-use bags and found that 75 per cent supported the move, 15 per cent did not support it, and 10 per cent were unsure about it.

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

"Removing the price means that these reusable bags are far more likely to be used once and discarded", Black said.

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.

The free bag offer will end just one day after the supermarket's latest marketing campaign, Little Shop, comes to an end.

'While there is consumer frustration during this period of transition, this backflip flies in the face of their initial claim to be committed to reducing plastics in the environment, ' he said.

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The supermarket giant scrapped single-use bags in supermarkets around the country from July 1 which coincided with a statewide ban introduced in Queensland.

"We now renew our call to Gladys Berejiklian and the State Government to enforce a ban of single-use plastic bags immediately". We also call on the Board of Coles to reconsider this decision for the sake of our planet.

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

"The key for us, where we produce 64 million tonnes of waste annually, is to work out ways to avoid the creation of waste and this kind of flip-flopping gets really confusing for the public and it gets really confusing for industry". Others said they have lived overseas, in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, where plastic bag bans have not caused an issue.

"So it's up to all of us to keep the pressure on and tell them we want to stick to their commitment to reduce plastic", she said. The only good part of this was the 15c charge, which would change people's behaviour over time.

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