Money & Banking

Thu, 30 Aug, 2018Basmah Qazi

Plastic bag ban back again: Coles stops issuing free bags to shoppers from today

Plastic bag ban back again: Coles stops issuing free bags to shoppers from today

We hope you didn’t get used to the luxury of free bags at Coles because they’ve just enforced the ban – again.

Earlier in the year, Coles and Woolworths announced that single-use plastic bags will stop being supplied to shoppers after other states and territories enforced the same rule.

The supermarket giants introduced re-useable bags, costing 15 cents each from July 1 this year.

But the decision was met with controversy and backlash, as shoppers became frustrated, forcing the two stores to offer the reusable bags for free for a limited time to ease customers into the changes.

Woolworths stopped giving out free bags in mid-July, with Matt Perry – spokesperson for Woolworths – saying that customers have had enough time to adjust.

“We think this transition is very much a thing of the past now. This was always about taking 3.2 billion plastic bags out of the network,” Mr Perry said.

And now two months later, Coles has followed in Woolworths’ footsteps, as from today, customers who forget their bags will be forced to pay 15 cents for a reusable one.

“Providing complimentary better bags was always an intermediary measure to help our customers through the process,” said Coles spokesperson Martine Alpins.

The good news is that there are rewards for those who remember to bring their own bag from home, with Coles offering 30 extra Flybuys points and Woolworths offering 30 extra reward points.

And if you need to buy a bag, there are plenty of options available at relatively affordable price points. Coles has a selection of $1 tote bags, $2 shoulder bags, 15 cent reusable bags and cooler and fabric bags.

Woolworths is also offering the 15 cent bags, alongside a chiller bag and a 99-cent bag.

IGA has also jumped on the bandwagon and is selling reusable bags for 15 cents.

Coles has said that it has no plans to reverse the ban again but will be observing customer feedback to see how it fares.

“We’re going to see how it goes, but we really do want to remind customers we have had two months of providing complimentary bags, which has helped them through the process,” said Ms Alpins.