Woolies weighs in on Coles bag backflip
UPDATE: WOOLWORTHS has confirmed it will stick to guns on the plastic bag ban as rival supermarket Coles revealed its surprising backflip.
Coles reignited the bag ban debacle this morning announcing it would offer reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely because customers were finding it too tricky to remember their reusable bags.
Woolworths, however, said its customers had no such issues.
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.
"Our focus is on continuing to help all our customers form new and sustainable habits," the statement said, adding that Woolworths would continue to reward customers who brought their own bags.
Both leading supermarkets giants removed single-use plastic bags on July 1 in stores in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia following a major backlash, but ended up handing out reusable bags for free.
Today was supposed to be the cut-off date, but Coles confirmed it will continue to offer these bags - which normally cost 15 cents - for free.
EARLIER: THOUGHT the plastic bag debacle was over? Think again.
Coles has revealed another backflip on its decision to dump plastic bags, saying it will now offer reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.
The supermarket giant removed single-use plastic bags on July 1 in stores in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia following a major backlash, but ended up handing out reusable bags for free.
Today was supposed to be the cut-off date, but Coles has confirmed to news.com.au it will continue to offer these bags - which normally cost 15 cents - for free.
"When Coles phased out single use plastic bags on 1 July in QLD, NSW, Victoria and WA, some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags," a Coles spokesperson told news.com.au.
"We've been delighted to see customers grow more accustomed to bringing their reusable bags from home so they are relying less on complimentary bags at the checkout.
"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."
Environmental groups are furious with the decision. Speaking to the Herald Sun, director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel labelled it a "weak act".
"These so-called reusable plastic bags are almost as thin as the banned lightweight ones,'' he said.
"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."
Social media users have made similar points:
What on earth is @Coles doing? Flip-flopping all over the place regarding bags now they are continuing to give reusable bags away. There is no reason to. If coles actually care about the environment they would do what they intended in the beginning.— OhRangaCan (@TheSupremeRanga) July 31, 2018
Speaking on Today this morning, Georgie Gardner described it as a "PR shamshackled from the start".
"It just came out of the blue," she said.
Coles recently came under fire after launching its Little Shop marketing campaign, releasing a range of plastic miniature versions of popular products like Nutella, Vegemite and Weet-Bix.
At the end of June, rival supermarket Woolworths announced it would hand out free reusable bags to customers as well, but capped this on July 8.
Customers at Woolworths will continue to pay 15 cents for plastic bags.
What is the point of the reusable plastic bags! If Coles is going to hand them out for free, they’re going to be just as disposable as the original ones!— chloe (@ch10033) July 31, 2018