Coles extends free bag offer
PLASTIC bags, get yer plastic bags.
Coles will continue to offer its 15-cent reusable plastic bags for free to help customers make the switch, following the ban on single-use plastic bags from July 1 that sparked a deluge of complaints and "plastic bag rage".
The supermarket first announced it would hand out the complimentary bags last Thursday with the offer running until Sunday, matching Woolworths' policy announced the previous week.
After slapping the 15-cent fee back on for Monday and Tuesday, Coles has once again made the bags free - and it's not sure when it will start charging for them again.
"Our customers are telling us they need more time to make the adjustment to reusable bags," a spokeswoman said.
"It's important to remember that this change was only implemented at the start of the month and many customers bringing bags from home can still find themselves short a bag or two. Over time, we expect our customers to know exactly how many bags they will need for their shop.
"We will continue to assess feedback from our customers and team members. We are already finding that our customers are bringing complimentary Better Bags back to stores to re-use, but some still find themselves a bag or two short for their entire shop."
Coles said it had been "delighted with the level of support" it had received from the community and "thank our customers, and our team members, for helping us make the transition away from single-use plastic bags".
"Since we removed single-use plastic bags from our stores, customers have told us that this has been a big change for them, so we want to do everything we can to help them," the supermarket said in a statement.
As of Sunday, July 1, single-use plastic bags have been banned in all states except NSW and Victoria. The bans in Queensland and Western Australia brought them into line with South Australia, the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania, but the supermarkets have voluntarily removed the bags from their entire store networks.
"Coles supermarkets will continue to provide complimentary reusable carry bags in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, and is investing in customer service to help make the transition away from single-use plastic bags as easy as possible for our customers," Coles said.
"Coles is also investing in thousands of additional hours of customer service for the busy back-to-school period, as well as providing refresher training for our team members on the best way to pack reusable bags of various sizes and shapes.
"Coles Better Bag is made from 80 per cent recycled material and is bigger, thicker and more durable than single-use plastic bags. Better Bags can also be used multiple times and when customers have finished with the Better Bag, it can be recycled through REDcycle bins available at all Coles supermarkets."
According to an analysis by Queensland University of Technology retail expert Gary Mortimer, the supermarkets stand to make roughly $71 million in gross profit by replacing free lightweight plastic bags with heavier 15-cent options.
Woolworths has been contacted for comment.