Shoppers face plastic bag madness
SHOPPERS are faced with consumer madness this weekend as the supermarket giants adopt a mixed bag of rules around plastic use.
Woolworths did a giant backflip on its plastic bag ban this week and is now offering customers free reusable plastic bags.
But at Coles supermarkets, Saturday will be the last day consumers can get free single-use bags at the checkout.
Customers in Victoria, NSW, Qld and WA have remained divided over the banning of plastic bags which have been dumped for environmental reasons.
Growing consumer backlash has erupted since Woolworths dumped single-use plastic bags on June 20.
This resulted in the supermarket this week announcing it would hand out free reusable bags - which normally cost 15 cents - at no charge until Sunday July 8, to give customers more time to acclimatise.
But customers shopping at Coles supermarkets will be forced to pay for reusable plastic bags from Sunday - at 15 cents each - if they require bags at the checkout.
Other bags are also available at supermarkets starting from 99 cents.
A Coles spokesman said they are "focused on delivering customer service to our customers to help transition away from plastic bags."
"In addition to this, from Monday, July 2 through to Sunday July 8, we will open extra check-outs in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia - those states where bags will be removed for the first time,'' he said.
Shoppers are being urged to come armed with their own bags or buy them instore.
A Woolworths spokesman said they will continue to offer free reusable bags to their customers until Sunday, July 8.
"Our complimentary reusable bag offer is all about giving our customers a little help with the transition to a more sustainable and greener way of shopping,'' he said.
"It's been pleasing to see the positive response to this offer from our customers who have needed some extra reusable bags for their shop."
Since they dumped single-use plastic bags on June 20 Woolworths has removed 50 million grey bags - often reused as bin liners from circulation.
Retail union SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer urged customers to be patient with supermarket staff and not vent their frustrations towards them over the coming days.
"We welcome this positive change for the environment and remind customers to bring their own reusable bags or simply purchase one at the checkout,'' he said.