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Woolworths, Coles and Harris Farm Commit To No More Free Plastic Bags in 2018

Image courtesy Ferdi Rizkiyanto

Australian supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles, shortly followed by trailblazers Harris Farm, all confirmed on Friday that they will no longer be supplying free plastic bags to customers as of next year.

That’s 3.2 billion less lightweight plastic bags from Woolies alone, according to chief executive Brad Banducci.

An exciting step in the right direction towards a complete move away from plastic bags, a state-wide ban of which is already in place in the ACT, Tasmania and South Australia, with Queensland joining them next year. The move has been welcomed by #BanTheBag campaigners, environmentalists and consumers alike.

I have to admit, when I noticed the ‘reusable paper bags’ in my local Harris Farm not long ago, at the ‘cost price’ of 20c a bag, the cynical side of me quietly questioned their overarching intentions. Already I have seen similar questions raised with regards to this latest announcement. Will the companies profit from this apparent growth spurt in environmental conscience? Very possibly. But then many of us don’t actively protest supermarkets profiting in ways that don’t have the positive environmental offset, so frankly, if that’s what it takes to get them over the line in the boardroom and it benefits our environment, I’m on board. Or simply take your own bag and it’s win-win! Harris Farm, to their credit, have also donated money every time a customer refused a bag, another fantastic incentive. They have reportedly donated $40,000 for Clean Up Australia as part of the #BanTheBag campaign.

We would love to see a complete plastic bag ban in the remaining states, and hopefully with the big hitters like Coles and Woolworths edging towards facilitating it, even more progress can be made.

And just while we’re looking at it, can we discuss the fruit and veg bags too? How many of us diligently take along our calico bags and then fill them with fruit and veg in plastic bags to be swiftly weighed at the checkout?! Again Harris Farms have come good and introduced reusable produce bags that you hand in at the register. Help is at hand on the BYO front here too. Click here for a selection of reusable produce bags!

So, options available to customers without their own bags once the plans are fully implemented next year will be:

WOOLWORTHS – From July 1st 2018

Plastic bag = 15c

Fabric bag = 99c

Fabric chill bag = $2.49

COLES – In the next 12 months

Plastic bag = 15c

Fabric bag = $1 or $2

HARRIS FARMS – From January 1st 2018

Small single-use paper bag = free

Reusable paper bags = ‘less than 15c or cost price’

Cardboard fruit boxes = free

On a side note, we recently joined friends at an awareness raising event for the #BanTheBag campaign down at Bondi. #WallUpBondi hosted by Surfrider Foundation Bondi involved building a wall of sandcastles the full stretch of the beach! They encourage others to set up their own event using the hashtag #WallUp (enter suburb). It was a great way to actively involve the kids and it certainly got people talking!

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What do you think about the plans?

Would love to hear from you in the comments section!

Love, Jem x

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