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Coles customer questions supermarket's plastic bag 'claim'

A Coles shopper has questioned the supermarket giant’s sustainability policy after receiving an online order that was packed with seemingly no thought given to the environmental impact.

It caused the shopper to doubt what he said was the shopping giant's "claim" that they were introducing reusable shopping bags to "save the environment" rather than "make money".

But Coles quickly responded explaining that there’s an important reason why so many bags were used.

After placing a small order online, the shopper was surprised to receive three times the amount of reusable bags than were required, with most of the bags containing a single item.

The order included milk, bagels, and three boxes of tissues all packed in separate single bags, with the remainder of the order spread across multiple separate bags.

Shopping bags fro Coles online order.
The Coles online shopper says they received three times the amount of bags they should have for their small order. Source: Facebook

The shopper took to the Coles Facebook page to question why so many bags were used, particularly when the supermarket has recently introduced Better Bags as part of their sustainable environmental practices.

“Please explain to me how this is the correct way to bag an order, I was given 6 bags for things that could easily fit in 2,” the annoyed shopper said.

“I don't care about the cost of the bag but more so your claims that you're charging for bags to save the environment not make money.”

Milk in a shopping bag from Coles.
The shopper's Coles online order had multiple bags with just one item in each. Source: Facebook.

According to the Coles website, new Coles Better Bags are provided every time you select the bagged option on an order.

Coles responds to multiple bag use

Coles quickly responded to the post saying the excess use of bags was due to managing “health and safety concerns” of staff and customers during Covid-19.

“Due to the current Covid-19 situation, to ensure the safety of our customers and our team members, all orders will be packed in Coles Better Bags,” a Coles spokesperson said.

“The number of plastic bags you receive is determined by the way in which our orders are picked.

“Our pickers collect items for multiple orders, from their allocated aisles of the supermarket. As such, if you only have one item from your order in that picker’s area, it will be in a bag by itself.”

The spokesperson went on to say that Coles had trialed alternate delivery packaging options, without success.

Coles supermarket at Brandon Park shopping centre in Glen Waverley in suburban Melbourne.
Coles supermarkets says the excess bagging is due to health and safety procedures during Covid-19. Source Getty.

“We trialled the use of canvas reusable bags and cardboard boxes, however, this produced mixed feedback, and caused significant upward pressure on delivery fees,” the spokesperson continued.

They did add that all Coles Better Bags can be reused or recycled in one of the REDcycle bins located at all Coles Supermarkets.

Coles cracks down on single-use plastics

The customer’s comments come as Coles eliminates single-use plastic cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery from shelves in store.

From July 1 customers will no longer be able to purchase these items. Instead, an alternate range of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified tableware and reusable options will be available.

The move will stop 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from being produced every year.

The announcement, which was made back in February, has now been rolled out in 2500 Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express outlets and Coles Liquor stores nationally.

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