Supermarket giant accused of having ‘no shame’ after introducing new $15 paper bag

Jul 31, 2023
A supermarket spokesperson was quick to defend the bag's price tag, claiming the cost is based on a "number of factors". Source: Getty Images.

In an effort to promote environmental sustainability, retail giant Coles has introduced a $15 reusable shopping bag in their stores nationwide, triggering anger among shoppers.

Earlier this year, as part of its sustainability pledge, Coles revealed its decision to discontinue the sale of soft-plastic shopping bags in all its stores across Australia.

However, the retailer’s commitment to the environment did little to placate one irate shopper who accused Coles of “blatantly ripping off” customers with the costly addition to their shelves.

A Coles spokesperson was quick to defend the bag’s price tag, claiming the cost is based on a “number of factors”.

“Our washable paper bag, made from FSC certified paper, has recently launched in-store as another option for customers to use when shopping,” the spokesperson said.

“The $15 price is based on a number of factors, including the materials used and its ability to be machine washable. The leather-like washable paper bag also has a longer life span compared to soft plastic and paper bags and can carry up to 20 kg.

“This month we phased out all soft plastic shopping bags in-store and online, which will remove 230 million plastic bags from circulation in one year. This is part of our commitment to reduce unnecessary plastic.

“We also continue to offer our customers 100 per cent recycled paper bags for 25 cents, a range of reusable tote bags that retail from $1.00 and chiller bags which are $2.50 each.”

Coles isn’t the only major retailer phasing out the use of plastic bags after Woolworths commenced the gradual removal of their 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags from stores earlier this year. 

The retail giant recently reported that 80 per cent of its patrons were already bringing their own bags during shopping excursions, prompting the company to persist in its efforts to promote sustainability by urging shoppers to bring their own bags rather than purchasing them in-store.

Woolworths Supermarkets Director of Stores, Jeanette Fenske, said the company is “excited to have Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania complete our national journey to remove the 15-cent plastic shopping bag from all our stores nationwide.”

“Having reusable bags on hand has become second nature for many shoppers, and so far we have seen our customers embrace this change with their usual eagerness to do good for the environment,” Fenske said at the time.

“Bringing your own bags is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage our customers to keep up the great work. Paper bags will continue to be available for those who forget to bring their own – but ultimately we want to sell less bags altogether.

“We’re proud to be the first major supermarket to commit to removing these plastic shopping bags from our stores, and this change is an important step towards more sustainable grocery shopping across the country.”

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