While the transition to paper bags from plastic is viewed as a positive move for the environment, many Aussies are finding the shift a constant source of frustration as they've discovered these new bags aren't as durable as they were expected to be.
"Woolies, you need to get your act together. This is not good enough!" an angry customer griped on Facebook, sharing a snap of a ripped Woolworths paper bag.
In a separate post, another shopper shared a photo of a ripped Aldi paper bag sitting in her car. "Don't bother with their new paper bags, they don't even make it out of the store!" she stated.
Coles was not spared from criticism either, with one TikToker slamming the retailer's new bags in a minute-long rant. "Paper bags. Now, I'm all for saving the environment... and these would be great if the arse-ends didn't blow out of every second one," user @jarrodsworld told viewers.
"Literally, the arse-end just blew out, exploded out of three of the bags I had. And I was very, very careful packing them. I knew they wouldn't take a lot of weight but that's it now. That's all Coles have, and apparently other supermarkets are following suit," he continued, before complaining about the insufficient size of the paper bags on offer.
Paper bag debate rages on
Backlash over the quality of supermarket paper bags has been widespread, with some Aussies arguing that these environmentally friendly alternatives simply aren't fit for task. "They tear easily, are no good with frozen foods, and will end up in bins after one use," a Facebook user commented.
However, Some Aussies are unsympathetic to those who've taken issue with the change. "Bring your own bag," someone replied to a Facebook complaint, while others said shoppers are to blame for bag breakages as they hadn't packed them efficiently.
"No need to be rude. Some of us are less perfect than others, clearly. Yes, we have bags in the car. But we're not always with our car, so need to purchase a paper bag," someone replied.
"Oooh I remember getting absolutely flamed in the comments when I posted this... all the paper bag experts came out of the woodwork to tell me how I'd clearly packed my bag wrong," another shopper added.
Step in the right direction
Woolworths, Coles and Aldi all signalled the shift from plastic to paper years ago and fully made the change this year. Despite the angst among shoppers, environmentalists have welcomed the move.
Dr Paul Harvey, environmental scientist and author of The Plasticology Project, praised Aldi for eliminating plastic bags last month. "This is fantastic news from Aldi and another step in the right direction for the Australian grocery retailer sector," he told Yahoo News Australia at the time.
However, he clarified that because the bags aren't made from recycled materials, forests are being harvested for a non-essential item, which is "shifting from one environmental problem to another".
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