Coles to continue giving away free reusable plastic bags

Coles is extending its giveaway of free reusable bags.

The supermarket chain – which had originally announced Sunday was the last day shoppers in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia could get the 15 cents reusable bags for free – says customers are still getting used to its ban on single-use plastic bags.

Coles would not give a date on how long the extension period would last.

Coles is extending its giveaway of free reusable bags. Photo: AAP

This comes a week after Queensland University of Technology’s Professor Gary Mortimer calculated the retailers would rake in about $170 million a year from the sale of their 15c reusable bags.

Prof Mortimer says he has sourced an online provider of heavier bags at 9c, rather than 15c, “but if you are buying in bulk, you would get a cheaper price,” he told News Corp Australia.

He wrote in Business Insider in 2017 that supermarket margins were feeling the “strain of price deflation”, but with the introduction of reusable bags, retailers could expect to see a reduction in “packaging costs”.

Prof Mortimer also estimated Australian retailers were giving away six billion single-use plastic bags each year.