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Ban on Plastics Picking Pace as Woolies and Cole Stores Follow Suit

The plastics ban momentum is growing. A considerable number of supermarkets are picking the pace in the plastics ban race. While the set target is a couple of months away, these companies have come to the fore in a bid to conserve the environment.

Starting as early as July 1, Woolworths, Big W, Coles, and BWS liquor stores in Australia will ditch the dissemination of plastic bags to consumers. However, Woolworths and Cole stores have decided to go the extra step. From Wednesday, they will no longer serve clients with plastic bags.

12 Woolworth stores started the ban on plastic bags since Wednesday 4 April. On the other hand, Cole stores will introduce a ban on plastics effective from 30 April in four stores.

A spokesperson from Woolworths has revealed that the early plans to ditch plastic bags was a pilot program aimed at monitoring feedback from customers. The pilot program will help the enterprise gauge customer preparedness before they implement the full plastics ban come July.


Some of the Woolworth stores that are going to lead the way are situated in Victoria, Toorak, Wyndham Vale and Taylors Lakes. Others are the Sydney Woolworths stores situated in Greenway Village, Marayong, and Dural. In the regional NSW, the Mullumbimby Woolworths store will also be part of the pilot program.

In Queensland, Woolworths stores at Mossman and Noosa Civic will join in the plastics ban. At the same time, one Coles store will work towards implementing the plastics ban, at the Hope Island store. Woolworths outlets in Singleton, Cottesloe, and South Fremantle will also partake in the plastic ban enforcement. The Inglewood Coles in Western Australia also partook in enforcing the ban starting from April 4.

The Woolworths spokesperson added that they were eager for members in all those communities in their drive. The objective is to create conditions that favor a greener future for Australia.

One would be forgiven for thinking that this recent green initiative by the companies is a new resolve. In truth, the Woolworths Group, that includes Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmaster liquor stores, made their intentions known back in July 2017. The move has allowed the organization to prepare adequately enough to avail reusable bags that range from 15 cents to $2.

Coles decided to jump on the initiative after the founder of the national anti-plastic bag campaign called them out. He expressed that he would like the major retailer to join their ‘Do Something’ campaign as a show of faith in their environmental conservation efforts.

The Numbers

On average, Australians use up about 4 billion single-use plastic bags per annum

Statistics released by the Woolworths chief executive informed members of the press that the company presently produces more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags per annum.

Popular German supermarket chain Aldi has never actually provided an avenue for the dispensation of plastic bags in their retail outlets. This has been the case since 2001. Instead, they ask customers to buy a bag right before checkout, bring their own or simply do without the bags.

A survey conducted in 2010 by CHOICE online reader indicated that more than 62% of respondents revealed that they take reusable bags to the supermarket.

The public has recently been at the forefront in advocating for an environmentally conscious economy. As such, a social media campaign “ban the bag” has seen more than 160,000 people from all over the country append their signatures to a document in support of a greener, cleaner environment. The move was launched in order to effect change by urging premiers of NSW, Western Australia, and Victoria to come up with nationwide bans on single user non-biodegradable plastic bags.

So Far

It is estimated by Clean Up Australia that about 50 Million single-use plastic bags end up in oceans and other waterways

As things stand at present, only the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have come up with plastic bags in their regions. Queensland is said to be seriously contemplating conceiving a plan to do the same in the coming year.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton revealed in The Sydney Morning Herald that they were in support of the retailers’ decisions. However, the NSW Environment Minister did not divulge whether the government was intent on implementing a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags.

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