Woolworths Just Backflipped On Banning Free Plastic Bags (For A Bit)

Woolworths Just Backflipped On Banning Free Plastic Bags (For A Bit)
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Turns out Australians aren’t quite ready to live a life without plastic bags just yet. In the wake of Woolworths removing single-use plastic bags entirely from its stores last week, the company has backflipped on that decision.

Woolies stores will be giving out ‘reusable’ plastic bags for free between now and Sunday July 8, as a means of easing the transition and getting customers into the habit of bringing their own bags.

Reminder: Plastic Shopping Bags Banned In NSW From Tomorrow

From June 20, Woolworths, Big W, BWS, and a bunch of other stores will be self-banning plastic shopping bags in NSW. This includes online shopping, which will now carry additional fees. Here are the details.

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Despite a Woolworths customer survey showing that 74.7 per cent of respondents supported the death of single-use plastic bags, it seems like shoppers aren’t quite ready to put that philosophy into action. “Customers have told us that getting into the habit of bringing their own reusable bags has been a challenge,” the Woolworths statement said.

“While some customers have forgotten their reusable bags altogether, many have done the right thing and brought their own only to end up one or two reusable bags short. We’ve listened to these customers and heard they just want a little extra help from us to get through the transition to a more sustainable and greener way of shopping.”

The bags being given out are usually sold for 15c each, a reusable plastic bag made of slightly thicker material including at least 80 per cent recycled plastic. These bags can be recycled at Woolies stores once you’re done with them.

Woolworths has also expanded its range of reusable bags due to the plastic ban, with both an emergency foldable bag and their ‘Bag For Good’ green bag available for 99c each.

So if you’re a Woolies shopper, you’ve got until next Sunday to get in the habit of bringing your own grocery bags – or else get used to paying extra to bag it up.


  • People need to remember this wasn’t Woolworths or Coles’ idea – they were forced to do this by legislation because of the State Labor and the Greens. So please remember that when you next go to the voting polls.

    • Not in Victoria yet either. The supermarkets are just getting in early, and once one was doing it, they both had to.

      Would you rather we keep adding 100s of millions of pieces of plastic to our waterways every year? I suspect you’re not a real turtle.

    • And its good legislation.

      Have you looked at our creeks? Better yet have you looked at the yarra? Full of those disposable plastic bags. Ive seen roots of trees on the side on rivers covered in plastic bags. They are doing a huge amount of harm to our enviroment. Its only the luddites who disagree with the legislation.

      • So we’re not going to address the real issue? All the assholes who actually litter? I mean how many plastic bags that are dumped properly actually wind up in the river?

        I have concerns that we’re actually going to make matters worse. The old plastic bags were at least perishable, give it a year in the sun and it breaks down. The new ones seem to be much heavier plastic and are likely to last longer. So when the asshats go to the beach and litter that plastic bag is going to be left behind and last a hell of a lot longer.

        Anyway, back to the article. I suspect a big part of the reason they’re extending the time is because they have a truckload of unused plastic bags. So they’re running out that supply. It makes sense to actually use them up rather than just dump them. Though it may be possible to recycle them I’m not sure whether they actually could or whether the plastic is the wrong type.

        • You really think we cant do more than we already do to stop littering? Apart from enacting a surveilance state where everyone is tracked we have done all we can. The plastic bag ban is a sound idea. If persons shopping trip is ruined because they cant use disposable plastic bags they need to recheck their life.

          • You might want to double check your post. It reads like you’re contradicting yourself. I’m guessing you mean “can” not can’t” in the first line.

            I didn’t say the plastic bag ban was a bad idea. I just don’t think it’s going to solve the problem. And if plastic bags are fundamentally so bad how is making stronger plastic bags really going to help? Maybe there will be fewer of them, but they’re stronger and will last longer before breaking down. That seems counter-intuitive to me. A better approach would have been not providing 15c reusable plastic bags and limiting bags completely to the cloth-style bags that are around $1.

            Like I said, I think it’s lazy assholes that litter who are the problem, not the average person who puts a plastic bag in the bin (likely even using it as a bin liner). Maybe I’m wrong, and all the plastic bags in rivers are actually coming from landfill not litterbugs. But that seems super unlikely.

            As for the comment about not having plastic bags ruining your shopping trip. That’s already happened to me twice in the last week. I was out doing other things and on the way home thought I’d pop in and do the shopping. Only to realise as soon as I walked into the store that all my bags were still at home. And because I’ve bought the more expensive, more durable ones I wasn’t willing to buy a bunch more. Just because it’s better for the environment doesn’t mean that it’s not ALSO a pain in the ass.

    • Yes, I will remember to vote for The Greens Party when election time rolls around because I support this very smart decision to phase out plastic bags that are ruining our beautiful Australia & threatening our unique fragile wildlife. Lazy consumer-slaves will just have to EVOLVE with the times!

  • Doesn’t matter what they do, people will still complain. The worst part being the workers who don’t make the decisions have to cop all the abuse.

    • I remember a brief retail work experience where a particularly self-entitled woman was so incensed by the lack of bags (she was buying one item that was too heavy for any bags anyway) that she wrote to management about me. She claimed to be a writer for a major magazine and threatened to give the store bad exposure if I wasn’t fired. I saw her email, which was written with all the panache of an illiterate 12 year old. Management of course issued me an official warning, despite that I was not responsible for the bag situation. However that points up the state of management and work conditions that Australians face daily.

  • even if people don’t bring their own bags the reusable one is what? 15 cents? you can bag your whole shopping for a fucking dollar. just suck it up and bring the bags back next time Australia.

    • its a plastic manufacturer. i know for a fact that these companies produce more than the grey shopping bags (i used to work for a filtration company that would swap air filters in a few of them). they have extensive product lines producing crap loads of items (mostly cling wrap and brand variants). They will be fine. also these are bags being mass produced and given out for free. not exactly a high revenue item for these companies.

  • Some people just need to toughen TF up a bit and get some perspective. It’s plastic bags FFS. You should have switched to reusable years ago anyway. It’s not hard – take some bags with you when you go to the supermarket.

    How we’ve reached a population of 7bn is beyond me.

    • Actually the reason we’re up to 7bn is because people are dumb, or at least not educated. If everyone was really smart and cared for the environment and sustainability the population would likely be a lot lower.

  • Toughen up, ladies. We have had no single use bags in South Australia for nearly a decade – the sun will come up tomorrow! And we have had a 10c deposit on soft drink containers for even longer – we have no roadside litter!

    Join the real world where we all do our own little bit to help and it does all add up to a good result.

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