Coles Says It’ll Hand Out Reusable Bags For Free ‘Cos Shoppers Can’t Cope

For a brief moment, it seemed we were free of the tyranny of the free plastic bag. The draw-cluttering menace was vanquished. Turtles, birds, and other chokeable wildlife cried out in song. All was well in the world.

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Then supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths announced a temporary stay on their free bag-banning policies to allow shoppers time to adjust. Woolies’ grace period lasted ten days, and Coles’ own bag-ban amnesty was scheduled to conclude today.

But Coles has just announced it may continue to hand out free plastic bags. Forever.

In a statement obtained by 9 News, a Coles spokesperson said the grocery chain has decided not to force customers to pay 15c for its new reusable plastic bags, and will offer them for 0c instead.

The spokesperson said the move was decreed thanks to a flood of shoppers “still finding themselves short a bag or two,” despite very clear and persistent warnings about the change.

While the supermarket claims fewer people are now asking for free reusable bags than when the ban was first enacted, it could not confirm an end date for the policy.

In June, both Coles and Woolworths started the bag ban in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

South Australia, Tasmania, and The ACT put similar measures in place yonks ago, and have done just fine without an excess of petrochemical products since.