Australia

Shoppers urged not to 'bag' retail workers

Shoppers are being urged to not take out frustrations on retail staff when new plastic bag bans come into force at shopping centres.

Shoppers are being urged to have patience with staff in Woolworths stores on Wednesday as new plastic bag bans come into force.

The Queensland government mandated bans don't start until July 1, however, Woolworths has moved to phase out the bags ahead of schedule, with all its supermarkets, BWS, Metro and petrol outlets doing away with single-use plastic bags from June 20.

Retail employees union SDA has launched its "Don't Bag Retail Staff" campaign to coincide with the ban.

SDA National Secretary Gerard Dwyer said the ban had been widely publicised and customers needed to bear with staff during the changeover.

"While we understand that some customers may be frustrated by this change, there is no excuse for abusive or violent behaviour towards retail staff," Mr Dwyer said.

"Retail workers should not have to bear the brunt of any abusive behaviour, just for following the new rules."

Queensland and Western Australia will enforce the bag bans from July 1, joining South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Recent research from Canstar Blue found one-in-five shoppers are opposed to the bag bans, predicting many would be confused by the sudden lack of plastic bags despite the publicity in the lead-up to the change.

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