Woolworths plastic bag ban starts today; here's what you need to know


Shoppers at Woolworths stores will no longer be given free single-use plastic bags from today as part of a new ban introduced by the retail giant.

Woolworths has bid farewell to single-use plastic bags under a new ban across the retail giant's stores.

From today, shoppers must bring along re-usable bags or buy them at the retailer's supermarkets, BWS, Metro and petrol outlets.

"This is a landmark day for us, not just as a business, but for our customers and communities, to help support a greener future for Australia," chief executive Brad Banducci said on Wednesday.

"We are proud to say that from now on, single-use plastic bags are gone from our stores, for good."

Mr Banducci acknowledged it could take shoppers a while to adjust to the ban.

"Putting 'reusable bags' at the top of your shopping list, keeping a couple in the car or leaving a post-it note on the fridge are some simple tricks that could work as a reminder," he said.

Woolworths and Coles last July joined a push to rid Australia of disposable plastic bags and set a deadline of June 30, 2018 for their stores to stop offering them to shoppers.

Woolies, which has provided more than 3.2 billion plastic bags a year to shoppers, later brought forward that deadline to June 20.

Green groups have welcomed the bans being introduced by Coles and Woolworths.

Similar bans in Britain and Ireland have helped reduce plastic bag usage by up to 85 per cent.

Woolworths and Coles have also recently announced plans to slash the amount of plastic wrapping on fresh fruit and vegetables in response to demand from shoppers. 

Shoppers urged not to 'bag' retail workers

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

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."

How to adjust to the changes

National Plastic Bag Campaign co-founder Jon Dee has some tips to help shoppers adjust.

What can I use instead to line my bins?

  • Rubbish can be put straight into bins, which should be washed every few weeks
  • Food and compostable items can go in compost bins, with recyclables into recycling bins
  • People who live in flats can wrap food and compostable items in newspaper before placing in a bin
  • Smelly rubbish like prawn shells can be wrapped in newspaper and frozen until rubbish collection night
  • Newspaper can also be used to line bathroom bins

What can dog owners use to clean up droppings?

  • A good alternative is empty bread bags as they are made of thicker plastic

What do I use to pack my supermarket shopping in?

  • Bring reusable bags to the shops
  • For the first few weeks leave the bags on the front seat of the car as a reminder to take them into the supermarket
  • Woolies and Coles will sell reusable bags priced from 15 cents in store
  • Woolies online shoppers will be able to buy reusable plastic bags for $1 per order or pay $3.50 for a crate-to-bench home delivery service
  • Coles online shoppers will have their goods delivered for free in crates or pay 15 cents for reusable bags


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