Bagging it out: Shoppers not convinced by supermarkets’ plastic bag policy

NOT AS IT SEEMS: Orange shoppers aren't convinced the decision by supermarkets to stop providing single-use plastic bags will have the desired effect. Photo: FILE PHOTO
NOT AS IT SEEMS: Orange shoppers aren't convinced the decision by supermarkets to stop providing single-use plastic bags will have the desired effect. Photo: FILE PHOTO

“Annoying”, “hypocritical”, “a money-making decision”.

Orange shoppers have reacted angrily to the cessation of free single-use plastic bags in the city’s major supermarkets, with many labeling the policy nothing more than a money-grab by retail giants.

In the past two weeks both Coles and Woolworths stopped supplying single-use plastic shopping bags free of charge, instead asking to shoppers either bring their own bags or baskets to the store, or purchase re-usable bags at the checkouts.

Both companies issued temporary offers of free re-usable bags for shoppers, which expired on Sunday.

While there was an initial groundswell of support for the policy on environmental grounds, many in Orange have questioned whether Woolworths and Coles have implemented it the right way.

This is just another profit-building exercise. Yes, the bags might be 15 or 20 cents, but it all adds up

Aaron John Pearson

The Central Western Daily spoke to shoppers on Saturday and canvassed opinions on its Facebook page, with one resident suggesting selling any kind of plastic bags after publicising a policy as environmentally-motivated was “hypocritical”.

Mark Peters claimed it was simply “a money-making decision”.

“If they’re truly worried about the environment then put the boxes out the front like Bunnings does so we can take them for our groceries,” he wrote.

Aaron John Pearson concurred, claiming the new arrangements will “do very little, and have an unnoticable [sic] effect, if any, on the environment”.

“This is just another profit-building exercise. Yes, the bags might be 15 or 20 cents, but it all adds up,” he wrote.

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Kim Doulman suggested there were other less-than-green practices food producers and retailers could amend.

“Let’s take a look at the packaging of food as well. I bought a box of biscuits recently and I needed to get through four layers of packaging … when really one would have been fine,” she wrote.

Woolworths North Orange and Woolworths Orange group manager Terese Borg said 99 cent bags were available at both stores and would be replaced for free when damaged, with money from their sale going to Junior Landcare grants.

In April, the owner of Orange’s two Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA) Supa stores Ian Ashcroft announced his outlets would stop offering customers free single-use bags from July 1, while Harris Farm Markets and Aldi have the same policy.

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