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Aussie supermarket backflips over plastic bags

04 August 2018

Coles has done a double backflip on its free plastic bags with the supermarket saying customers will start paying for the bags after August 29.

Twelve months ago, both Woolworths and Coles announced they would phase out single-use bags from July 1 this year, but the transition appeared to spark a backlash which saw Woolworths continue to give away free reusable bags for an extra 10 days in July.

Well it seems not after supermarket giant Coles backflipped on their promise to ban the plastic bag and announced it will offer reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.

"It's confusing and frustrating for customers that they have been flip-flopping on this issue and we really want to see them make a solid commitment to actually doing what they said they would do and ban the bags for good", Deans added.

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".

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.

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

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

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

"I'm calling this for what it is: high farce", he wrote.

Coles and rival Woolworths dominate Australia's grocery market.

Director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel labelled the Coles' latest decision a "weak act".

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

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

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.

Woolworths surveyed 12,500 customers in May about the phasing out of single-use bags and found that 75 per cent supported the move, 15 per cent did not support it, and 10 per cent were unsure about it.

Aussie supermarket backflips over plastic bags