Coles sets an end date for its free plastic bag handout


Coles decision to delay cutting customers off from its free reusable plastic bags has led many industry figures to react negatively, as well as members of the public.

"Some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags", a Coles spokesperson said.

On Wednesday, Coles Supermarkets announced that due to backlash from customers when the single-use plastic bags were finally removed from its stores, it would now give away free "reusable" plastic bags indefinitely.

The supermarket's chief executive office John Durkan sent an email to his 115,000 staff.

"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".

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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. "We also call on the board of Coles to reconsider this decision for the sake of our planet", co-CEO Angus Harris said.

NSW Labor and the Greens called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to introduce a state-wide ban on single use bags.

"I'm a 30-year customer at Eastgate in Bondi Junction", wrote one.

It comes after the supermarket giant came under fire earlier this week for backing down on its plans to make customers pay for the thicker plastic bags, with one Woolworths employee reportedly assaulted by a customer angry at the changes.

"I feel like we don't treat consumers with enough respect because I think they really understand we're trying to avoid the creation of waste, avoid the use of plastic", she said.

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Greenpeace criticised the decision as irresponsible and disappointing, saying that Coles is perpetuating the problem of plastic waste by providing free bags.

Environmentalists have slammed Coles' decision, with Boomerang Alliance Director Jeff Angel labelling Coles' latest move a "weak act", reports The Herald Sun.

"These so-called reusable plastic bags are nearly as thin as the banned lightweight ones, " he said.

"These so-called reusable plastic bags are nearly as thin as the banned lightweight ones, " he said.

Customers will continue to get rewarded with 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout if they do not forget to come armed with their own bags.

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