Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Australian supermarket chain reverses free plastic bag ban

Australian supermarket chain reverses free plastic bag ban

But on Wednesday Coles said the change in habit had proven to be "big and difficult" for customers and it meant to hand out its thick, reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.

It drew a furious response, dubbed "bag rage", as customers angry about having to bring their own sacks or pay 15 Australian cents (11 USA cents) for a reusable plastic bag abused checkout staff and vented on social media.

"It's all a part of lifting their customer satisfaction and getting more customers in the door", said James Tao, a market analyst at stockbroker Commonwealth Securities in Sydney.

"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".

But in the latest about face Coles has changed its tune yet again revealing they will continue to offer customers these bags - they are normally 15 cents each - for free.

A leading Australian supermarket was Thursday forced into a backflip after facing a barrage of criticism for reneging on plans to phase out free plastic bags.

A Coles spokesman said customer feedback indicated they needed more time to transition to reusable bags.

Yesterday Coles faced backlash from Greenpeace, who accused the supermarket giant of caving to pressure too quickly.

"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.

That decision has annoyed environmental groups, who warned the reusable bags are worse for the environment if they are discarded into waterways and habitats.

Environmental groups have slammed the move as "weak".

Ms Deans said given Coles had previously reneged on its deadlines to stop giving away plastic bags, some may be skeptical about them sticking to the new one.

Both recently extended bans on single-use bags, replacing them with reusable bags costing 15 cents (£0.08; $0.11) each.

"It just came out of the blue", she said.

"That's why we are extending our complimentary bag offer until Wednesday 29 August for our customers in QLD, NSW, VIC and WA".

Now, I'm not advocating violence but what I would advocate is stop being a bunch of compliant saps and when somebody does something stupid, which this unquestionably is, go "it isn't good enough and I'm not going to stop with you until you change your policy".

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