Woolworths' plan to deal with bag ban outcry
WOOLWORTHS has backflipped on its plastic bag ban, saying it will now hand out free reusable bags to frustrated shoppers.
For the next 10 days, customers will be given extra reusable bags for free at the check-out counter if they forget to bring their own, or if they don't have enough.
The supermarket giant's managing director Claire Peters told news.com.au it's been a challenge getting some customers into the habit of bringing their own eco-friendly bags, noting that often customers underestimate the amount of bags they're going to need at check-out.
"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."
Woolworths will offer complimentary 15c reusable bags to any customer in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and WA caught bag-less between Friday and Sunday, July 8.
Bernie Smith, Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA)'s national New South Wales secretary told news.com.au he had received mixed reports from Woolworths staff in response to the ban.
He noted that while the "majority of customers" were embracing the transition, a small but vocal portion was prone to abusive behaviour towards retail workers.
In May, Woolworths polled 12,500 customers about the single-use plastic bag ban. According to their survey results, almost 75 per cent supported the transition to reusable bags, while less than 15 per cent were opposed to it.
Rival supermarket Coles is also set to phase out plastic bags this weekend, recently announcing it will open every checkout in all its stores on July 1 in anticipation of huge 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 ditch the bags on July 1 as bans come into force in Queensland and Western Australia, joining the ACT, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory where they have already been phased out.