Get Free Freezer Bags From Your Supermarket

I can't decide if this is a sensibly frugal idea, a borderline criminal activity or an environmental scandal. Judge for yourself.

Picture by Francois Schnell

Reader Laurie wrote in with this simple tip:

When I go shopping I always grab a couple of extra plastic bags (from the dispenser) in the fruit and veg section to wrap meat and other items up in for freezing.

If you want to cut down on bag use, freezing stuff in washable and reusable containers makes sense. Freezer bags aren't especially costly either (69 cents for a packet of 40 or 80, depending what size you want).

A marginally more ethical approach might be to reuse the bags you've used for fruit and vegetables after you get home. That said, many people won't feel bad about getting something extra from a major supermarket chain. What's your take? Thanks Laurie!


    If you really have to steal bags for this, you have bigger problems than paying a cent or two to buy them properly. Reusing them is awesome though.

    Yeah I'd call this a pointless borderline criminal activity, as you said buying a whole big pack of them costs less than a dollar, why not just buy them if you intend on using them?

      If they're offered for free, why not take 5 instead of 1?

        Who says they're free, perhaps it's actually accepted that you're purchasing them WITH the fruit or veg, so taking extra is actually stealing?

    Yeah I wpuldnt feel bad at.a.major chain, especially Cole's for their most.recent ad campaign. Prices are down now guys.

    i prefer reusable containers just because i can easily stack them and fit more stuff

    FFS - it's this kind of activity that encourages supermarkets to raise prices.

      A couple of placky bags make prices raise? Pfffttt... please. People eating random fruit and veg as they walk past would be more likely to make prices rise.

        If every customer takes extra bags, then the supermarket chains need to spend more money on buying extra. that money has to come from somewhere, and it wont come from their profit. hence.... prices go up.

        and just because they are a big chain, does that mean people have the right to steal from them? no.

    We use reusable containers in the freezer because the stack.

    We also use reusable fruit and veg bags for the supermarket runs. You can get them online and last years.

    Win around

    I already resuse the bags I buy my fruit in as once its in my fridge i dont want to be shuffling through plastic bags.

    but grabbing extra? maybe for dog doo bags, those are expensive. I buy freezer bags to save on costs of them, its just dog doo.

    What is wrong with that? Useful and using what is around you.

    I'd be more concerned about the people that walk around the fruit and veg aisles taking gobfuls of fruit etc and not buying any.

    Reusing the bags you get is a given. I couldn't fully use up the bags I bring home if I tried.

    Could only do this at Coles; the ridiculously thin bags that Woolies provides are as useful as a wet newspaper in a sword fight.

    That is stealing - you should not be encouraging people to do this.

    That is basically theft.
    Your children will grow up as thieves too.

    Why not just double/triple bag stuff when you buy your fruit and veg. You get the extra bags and you do not steal them as you pay for their weight when you check out!

      Beat me by a minute!

    If you use multiple bags to wrap your fruit/veges, you get charged by the weight, so if done this way, you're not actually stealing.

    If you feel guilty, buy grapes and put one in each bag lol

    I think it's pretty acceptable practice to grab a couple on your way through the fresh food isle to wrap the meat in - especially things such as leg of lamb which can be quite leaky.

    ironic when this website practically ecourages piracy but frowns on plastic bag stealing.

      Angus has repeatedly posted anti piracy views in articles and comments

    pretty sure that i've seen sign in a coles or woolwoorths specifying that plastic bags are charged at the rate of the product contained therein. i assumed at the time this was to stop ultra tight customers from removing the items from the bag at checkout and having them weighed and charged sans bag, before putting them back into the bag to take home.

    nonetheless this confirms the bags do have a specific value and are not a free item.

    I can stay for certain that when you use a plastic bag at Coles, at the checkout, 4 grams are taken as a Tare. Same as when you get anything from the deli

    This is REALLY old news. Been happening for more than 20 years - I started working for a retail organisationin 89 and this was a problem.....

    Seriously. Stealing? So is having the goods double bagged at check outs stealing as well?
    No way. No signs exist, the don't effect the weight of items. Only paper bags do. And they are for mushrooms and that weight is deducted from purchase.

    Seriously, stealing....omg get over it

    You know you can just ask the checkout operator to put your meat in freezer bags for you?..
    I'm a checkout chick and we're obligated as part of company policy to offer to wrap meats in freezer bags before packing them so they don't leak.

    Plus it is HIGHLY unlikely to effect prices AT ALL if you take 5 as opposed to 1. I work in a small store and I have 2 rolls of 1,000 under my checkout all the time and we're practically told to give them away.

      If that's what you consider a crime of theft that'll plague your conscience,
      You're gonna have a bad time.

    Definitely an option in SA to stock up the plastic bag drawer as bags aren't provided when buying groceries

    Did this idea come from the US Lifehacker site? It's exactly the sort of crap they love.

    I do this at the supermarket's that charge for plastic bags! The cashier's always laughf they think it's great! Losen up guys and realise we are being ripped off anyway!

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