Coles Backflips on Bag Ban

Coles Backflips on Bag Ban

A major Australian supermarket chain came under fire from environmentalists on Wednesday for reversing a decision to stop providing free plastic bags to shoppers.

Before they took action, half of Australia's eight states and territories had already banned single-use plastic shopping bags by law.

The double-backflip follows a massive backlash from environmental groups, other retailers and social media users, after the retailer announced yesterday it would offer reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.

"When Coles phased out single use plastic bags on 1 July in QLD, NSW, Victoria and WA, some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags", a Coles spokesperson told

Now, thicker reusable bags which had previously cost 15 cents each will be handed out for free.

"Over the past month, we've been delighted to see our customers grow more and more accustomed to bringing their reusable bags from home", he wrote. Should Coles stick to their original plan and charge for their reusable bags?

Woolworths had been giving out an estimated 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags annually.

"Offering complimentary bags was always an interim measure to help our customers adjust their shopping habits and Coles will no longer be providing Better Bags free of charge from Wednesday 29 August", Coles said.

Shoppers at a Coles supermarket in Melbourne
Shoppers at a Coles supermarket in Melbourne

Coles has revealed another backflip on its decision to dump plastic bags, saying it will now offer reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.

Single-use plastic bags take years to break down, and many end up in the environment polluting oceans, rivers and beaches.

In July, Coles initially removed single-use plastic bags from its checkouts nation-wide in a bid to be more environmentally friendly.

After thousands of people vowed to boycott Coles, the supermarket has backed down.

"Coles' colossal plastic bag fail" and "Coles caves" ran headlines on Australia's main news sites.

The grocery giant, Coles, is not having a good day.

But Mr Angel said there should be a law that only allows bags that can be reused hundreds of times to be implemented.

Harris Farm Markets has historically been vocal about the issue, previously teaming up with Clean Up Australia, who this afternoon also displayed displeasure at Coles' announcement.

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