Coles to discard soft-plastic bags by the end of June

·2-min read

Coles has promised to phase out soft-plastic shopping bags in-store and online by the end of next month.

The supermarket chain says its remaining supply of soft-plastic bags will be run down in the coming weeks and it will cease selling them by the end of June.

The move to reduce unnecessary packaging at the checkout is expected to take 230 million plastic bags from circulation nationwide within a year.

Coles Group Chief Operations and Sustainability Officer Matt Swindells said the decision is proof of the retail giant's commitment to affect positive change.

"The most sustainable option is to bring your own reusable bag to the supermarket but for those who forget, we will continue to sell 100 per cent recycled paper bags that can be recycled kerbside, as well as other reusable options," he said.

The alternative bags have been tested to hold up to six kilograms of goods.

Coles removed single-use plastic carry bags at checkouts in 2018, saving an estimated 14,000 tonnes of plastic from annual production.

The paper bags are available to purchase in-store for 25 cents.

Shoppers can also select from a range of reusable tote bags retailing for $1, and $2.50 for large size options. From next week, the bags will be used for home delivery and Click&Collect orders.

Coles and Woolworths earlier this week said they would meet a deadline to begin disposing of tonnes of soft plastic waste stockpiled by collapsed company REDcycle.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority gave them until Friday to remove parts of the stockpiles, found in huge stashes at 19 sites across the state.

Another 15 sites in Victoria contain stockpiles of the plastics, six in South Australia, two in Tasmania and one each in Queensland and Western Australia.

Woolworths and Coles took control of REDcycle's stockpiles shortly before the company filed for voluntary administration.

The soft plastic recycling program was wound up in November after it emerged the plastics consumers returned to supermarkets for recycling were instead put into storage.