Australian supermarket chain reverses free plastic bag ban

  • Australian supermarket chain reverses free plastic bag ban

Australian supermarket chain reverses free plastic bag ban

Over in Australia Coles has made a decision to wave the white flag on their plan to ban plastic bags and good on them.

The email, seen by news.com.au, confirms the supermarket is extending the free bag offer until August 29.

The retail boss sent an all-staff email empathising with his team that the change from single-use plastic bags "has been a big and hard change for many of our customers".

The supermarket chain now offers the bags for free.

Coles has set a deadline for its extended free plastic bags handout, after bowing to customer pressure in backing down on reusable bags.

But Environmental groups have reacted with horror.

With a PR disaster looming and calls for a boycott mounting, Coles on Thursday backflipped again, saying the 15 cent bags would only be free until August 29.

Over 3000 people have signed the petition as of this morning.

But Coles and rival Woolworths have faced major backlash from customers who weren't prepared for the change.

Coles has been handing out reusable plastic bags to most of its Australian customers since July 1 when it introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags and told customers they'd have to begin paying for the reusable bags.

While customers had been growing more and more accustomed to bringing reusable bags, many were still finding themselves one or two short at the register.

In July 2017, both Coles and Woolworths announced they would phase out single-use plastic bags.

It said the decision would only be bad for the environment - a fear echoed by many on social media.

Greenpeace campaigner Simon Black said Coles' move was "incredibly disappointing" and "makes a complete mockery of their claims to want to reduce plastic waste".

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

Co-CEO Angus Harris said the switch "was not easy" but had already stopped 15 million single-use plastic bags ending up in landfill or as litter.

Also whilst we're here, can we talk about how stupid and useless that new Coles "mini-collectables" campaign is.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel labelled it a "weak act".

Plastic bags will be banned from Coles by the end of August, after public backlash.

The backflip comes while Coles is under enormous pressure to lure customers, as its sales growth lags Woolworths just as Wesfarmers prepares to spin it out and list it separately.