Woolworths to hand out free bags after plastic ban backlash

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Following a major backlash over its ban on single-use plastic bags, Woolworths has announced that it will again be handing out FREE bags for a limited time.

Woolworths banned single-use plastic bags from stores on June 20, with customers instead told they need to purchase a reusable bag, costing a minimum of 15c. But the move has been met with anger by some shoppers.

In response, Woolworths has announced that from Friday 29th June until Sunday 8th July, it will offer complimentary reusable bags.

“We understand it’s a big change, and we know that remembering your reusable bags every time you shop isn’t easy,” Woolworths said in a statement.

The offer is only available in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales, where the ban has only just taken effect.

Coles is set to follow suit in banning single-use plastic bags from all stores by July 1.

Woolworths Managing Director Claire Peters told news.com.au that the bag ban has not been met with enthusiasm by customers.

“Some customers have told us that getting into the habit of bringing their own reusable bags has been a challenge,” Ms Peters said.

“While some customers have forgotten their reusable bags altogether, many have done the right thing and brought their own, only to end up one or two reusable bags short.

“That’s why from now until Sunday, July 8, if customers forget their reusable bags, we’ll have complimentary reusable bags available for their shopping at Woolworths.

“This will not only help support customers as they work to form new habits, but also ensure they’ll have reusable bags on hand when they next choose to shop with us.”

A recent Canstar Blue survey found that about one in five shoppers are opposed to the plastic bag ban.

Coles customers told to prepare

Coles is also set to phase out single-use plastic bags this weekend, announcing that it will open every check-out in all stores on July 1 in expectation of delays.

“To minimise disruption to our customers and help them with the transition to no single-use plastic bags, all check-outs will be open in Coles stores between 10am and 6pm on Sunday, July 1,” a Coles spokesman told news.com.au.

“In addition to this, from Monday, July 2 through to Sunday, July 8, we will open extra check-outs in states where bags will be removed for the first time. Specifically, additional check-outs will be open in between 9am and 9pm in NSW and Victoria, and 9am and 7pm in Queensland and Western Australia.”

IGA will also remove plastic bags on July 1 as bans come into force, joining ACT, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory where they have already been phased out.

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