Finance Consumer Woolworths, Big W to phase out 15-cent plastic shopping bags

Woolworths, Big W to phase out 15-cent plastic shopping bags

Woolworths will dump all plastic bags

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Shoppers at Woolworths and Big W will soon no longer be able to grab plastic shopping bags at the checkout.

Woolworths Group said it would stop selling the 15-cent shopping bags at checkouts nationwide over the next year — and they will be gone for good by the end of June 2023.

The supermarket giant said it would also phase out plastic bags in online orders.

It claims the move will remove more than 9000 tonnes of plastic from circulation annually.

Woolworths managing director Natalie Davis said paper bags would still be available for shoppers who forgot to bring their own, but the supermarket giant ultimately wanted “to sell less bags altogether”.

“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,” she said on Friday.

The group noted in its statement that plastic bags for fruit and vegetables would remain available. However, the retail giant is exploring more sustainable options.

woolworths plastic bags
On the way out: Woolworths Group has announced it will phase out plastic bags nationwide.

An ALDI spokesperson told The New Daily it was “actively considering” a similar move. Coles said it was phasing out plastic bags in Western Australia – as required by state legislation that comes into effect in July.

In 2018, Woolworths was the first supermarket to ditch single-use plastic bags, instead charging 15 cents for the reusable option.

Coles soon followed — pledging to also charge customers for the bags.

It faced intense backlash when it backflipped on that decision, and announced it would indefinitely provide its reusable bags for free.

The consequent outrage from consumer and environmental groups prompted the retailer to change its mind again just a day later.

Woolworths has also already begun its transition to plastic bag-free shopping in WA. The retailer began phasing out the bags in supermarkets in the state earlier this year.

Woolies said WA customers had responded well to the change, with 76 per cent reportedly saying they support it.

Woolworths said eight in 10 of its customers already brought their own shopping bags.