New Coles plastic bag move 'a weak act’
THE plastic bag debacle is continuing after supermarket giant Coles revealed it was doing yet another backflip on its decision to dump bags.
The supermarket giant removed single-use plastic bags on July 1 in stores in Victoria, NSW, Qld and WA but after widespread customer backlash was forced to hand out reusable plastic bags to customers to free.
This was due to on Wednesday, August 1.
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.
The change is indefinite and has left environmentalists outraged.
Director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel labelled the Coles' latest decision a "weak act".
"These so-called reusable plastic bags are almost as thin as the banned lightweight ones,'' he said.
"They have a very limited life and the removal of the price signal also means they are more likely to be littered - something we warned about."
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.
"Some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags,'' she said.
"Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two so we are offering complimentary reusable better bags to help them complete their shopping.
"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."
Customers will continue to get rewarded with 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout if they remember to come armed with their own bags.
But Mr Angel said there should be a law that only allows bags that can be reused hundreds of times to be implemented.
"Governments and retailers need to get fair dinkum about saving the environment from plastic bag pollution which is in the top three threats to marine animals,'' he said.
Customers at rival supermarket Woolworths do have to pay 15 cents for reusable bags.
The new collectables include 30 miniature versions of products including Vegemite, Weetbix, Nutella, Chobani and Tim Tams.