Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Harris Farm Markets calls for bag ban after Coles U-turn

Harris Farm Markets has renewed its call for a ban on single-use plastic bags after Coles pledged to give out reusable plastic bags indefinitely.

“We’re really disappointed by the decision from Coles Supermarkets this morning to backflip on their plastic-bag ban and give out reusable plastic bags free of charge indefinitely,” Co-CEO of Harris Farm Markets Angus Harris said.

“We now renew our call to Gladys Berejiklian and the state government to enforce a ban of single-use plastic bags immediately. We also call on the board of Coles to reconsider this decision for the sake of our planet.”

All eyes on Woolworths?

Mr Harris went further by calling on Woolworths to stand firm in the face of Coles’ U-turn.

“Also, a public message to Brad Banducci and the team at Woolworths – please don’t follow suit,” he said.

“Giving away reusable plastic bags is an environmental disaster. This just increases the amount of plastic that will now make its way into our waterways.

“Removing plastic bags from our checkout registers at the beginning of the year was not easy. We’re really grateful for all the hard work and support from our customers and our team.”

Harris Farm Markets removed all plastic bags from its registers in January this year. It replaced them with free reusable paper bags and cardboard boxes

The retailer also says it has been a long-term supporter of reducing plastic bag use. It previously partnered with Clean Up Australia on the issue.

‘Disappointment and dismay’

Clean Up Australia Managing Director Terrie-Ann Johnson said yesterday: “Clean Up shares shopper disappointment and dismay at this turnaround by Coles.

“[The] announcement that the spotted plastic bag will continue to be a free feature at the checkout is a breach of faith.

“We ask all shoppers to let Coles know this is not what shoppers want by saying NO to plastic at the checkout.”

Although Coles’ decision was welcomed by some, others took to social media and newspaper comments sections to express their frustration.

One commenter, named ‘aygeebee’, wrote in response to the story in The Guardian (Australia):

“South Africa, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya & Ethiopia all have total bans in place. China has total bans in effect regards plastic bags since June 1st 2008. Bangladesh introduced a strict ban in 2002.

If they can do it so can Coles.”

The latest twist

Coles has since announced another reversal in policy.

On Thursday August 2, Coles Managing Director John Durkan told staff that the complimentary-bag offer would last only until August 29.

“I appreciate this transition phase is taking longer than anticipated, but it is absolutely the right thing to do by our customers,” he wrote.

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