Coles follows Woolies in plan to ban plastic bags
WOOLWORTHS and Coles have joined the national push to rid Australia of free disposable plastic bags within the next year.
Woolworths, Big W, BWS, Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmasters’ liquor stores nationwide, all part of the Woolworths group, plan to get rid of all single- use plastic bags by June 30 next year.
Shoppers will instead be offered reusable bags ranging from 15c to $ 2, although Big W may provide reusable bags at no extra cost.
Woolworths’ chief executive Brad Banducci said the group gave out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags a year.
“Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities se- riously,” he said. Woolworths’ lunchtime announcement was quickly followed by a similar announcement from fierce rival Coles yesterday.
Coles said it would bring Coles’ stores in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and WA into line with Tasmania, SA, the Northern Territory and the ACT, where Coles complies with local bans.
Coles chief customer officer Simon McDowell said this fol- lowed several months of consultation with nongovernment organisations and environmental groups.
Jon Dee, the founder of the national anti- plastic bag campaign Do Something, welcomed the move.
“Aldi took the lead when they set up here in 2001 because from day one they didn’t give away free plastic bags,” he said.
Mr Dee said lightweight plastic bags often ended up polluting waterways and the ocean.
Greenpeace campaigner Samantha Wockner said the move would have a significant positive impact on the environment, and urged more governments to act.
“It’s disappointing that leadership on this issue has come from a large supermarket chain rather than from our politicians,” she said.