Monday, June 17, 2024

Woolworths to stop selling reusable plastic bags

Woolworths has pledged to remove plastic shopping bags for good, with the retailer announcing it will stop selling its 15¢ reusable plastic shopping bags nationwide in a gradual phase out over the next year.

BIG W will also phase out its 15¢ and 45¢ reusable plastic bags from stores by the end of June next year.

The move comes ahead of World Environment Day this Sunday (5 June) and is expected to see more than 9000 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation annually.

The retailer is encouraging customers to bring their own bags to boost sustainability, rather than buying them in store. Woolworths’ paper bags made from 70% recycled paper will remain available to those who need them.

The reusable plastic shopping bags will be phased out gradually state-by-state from Woolworths supermarkets, Metros, and online orders. Woolworths in Western Australia already made the move earlier this year in time for the state government mandate coming into effect at the end of this month.

BIG W will introduce additional bag options to its range ahead of the change to complement its existing line of fabric bags and printed totes.

A new phase

Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Natalie Davis says the retailer’s reusable plastic bags were introduced back in 2018 to help customers adjust to the removal of single use plastic bags from its stores.

“We’ve seen a huge shift in shopping habits since we stopped giving out single use plastic bags, with eight out of 10 customers now bringing their own bags from home,” she says.

“The reusable plastic bags have played their part and now it’s time to do away with selling plastic shopping bags at our checkouts for good.

“Bringing your own bags is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage our customers to keep up the great work. Paper bags will continue to be available for those who forget to bring their own – but ultimately, we want to sell less bags altogether.

“Customers expect us to lead on sustainability, and this is one way we are growing greener by reducing plastic and ensuring the regular trip to your local Woolworths or BIG W is having less impact on the environment.

“We know the change may be an adjustment for some customers and that’s why we’re phasing this change in over the coming year. We’d like to thank customers in advance for their support as we all work together to create a better tomorrow.”

Moving forward

Woolworths stores in South Australia and Northern Territory will be the next to phase out the bags, with the transition set to begin by September this year. Stores will begin gradually running down stock of the reusable plastic bag prior to its removal.

Woolworths and BIG W will help customers to prepare for the upcoming change, providing notice in each state ahead of time, with reminders via email, advertising and signs in store.

Plastic bags to carry fruit and vegetables will continue to be available to customers in the produce department as the supermarket works to explore more sustainable options. In SA earlier this year, Woolworths switched to compostable fruit and veg bags.

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