Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Australia's Coles backtracking on bag ban

Australia's Coles backtracking on bag ban

Responding to the backlash a month ago, Coles and Woolworths announced they would offer reusable bags for free in brief "transition" periods.

"It's interesting because the ban on single-use bags came as a result of pressure from customers and people calling for companies to take responsibility and stop using plastic bags".

Customers will continue to received 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout as a reward for remembering to bring their own bags.

The supermarket giant has been handing out bags to customers in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia since July 1 when it brought in a ban on single-use plastic bags and told customers they'd have to pay for reusable bags.

The waiver was "still meant to be an interim measure", Coles said, but gave no date for the resumption of the fee, saying only it will "assess when customers have become accustomed to bringing their own bags".

Coles has since changed its mind multiple times, setting different deadlines for when they would begin charging for bags.

Environmental groups are furious with the decision.

August 1 was supposed to be the cut-off date, but Coles said it would continue to offer these bags - which normally cost 15 cents - for free.

Steve then found himself in a heated debate with advertising executive Dee Manigan who argued that Coles has made a misstep with this decision and should expect "huge backlash" considering the majority of customers are actually behind the bag ban.

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".

EARLIER: THOUGHT the plastic bag debacle was over?

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

"Working with their teams in the lead up to the campaign to replace single use bags, we were inspired by and supported Coles' nationwide desire to replace single use plastics".

"We've seen that with container deposit [schemes] so we should just keep moving forward with certainty and give both the public and industry certainty", she said.

Despite Coles customers being notified on their receipts and also on checkout screens that free bags were coming to an end on August 1 a Coles spokeswoman confirmed otherwise.

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