Coles reveals cause of annoying plastic bag problem

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

Coles has explained the reason behind a common plastic bag problem many supermarket customers are growing increasingly frustrated with.

A Melbourne woman took to the Coles Facebook page in July after receiving her home delivery, she was upset to find that two bags contained just one item.

“I’ve been getting Coles online orders for years which were delivered to my bench (bagless), since the Covid changes they are more bagged which I have no control over, that we have to accept.

“However, to bag just one item in a bag, or two in the way it came this morning is upsetting,” she said.

A woman said Coles used eight bags to deliver her groceries. Pictured are five of them. Source: Facebook
A woman said Coles used eight bags to deliver her groceries. Pictured are five of them. Source: Facebook

Another disgruntled customer was upset when their fresh fruit and veggies arrived in individual plastic bags.

“Having one onion or one lemon in a plastic bag is really not necessary and makes me quite furious about the waste and blatant disregard for the climate,” the shopper said at the time.

And a Woolworths customer was baffled after receiving 22 bags with her online delivery, with seven of the bags containing just a single item each.

“Funny thing was that in another bag there was a packet of biscuits in with tinned goods. So they’re obviously not worried about breakage,” the shopper said.

She added that bags were normally repurposed in the household, but it seemed they were now “breeding faster than we can reuse them”.

A few other customers were annoyed that they could no longer request no plastic bags with their delivery due to coronavirus health and safety measures.

Packets of biscuits and chocolates were delivered in bags of their own.
Online customers are often baffled why their orders contain bags with only one item in each bag. Source: Supplied

Why so many plastic bags?

Coles has revealed to Yahoo News Australia the reason behind the bagging system.

Currently all online orders are required to be placed into bags for the health and safety of team members and customers.

“We are required to provide plastic bags due to health and safety concerns, as well as a respect for customers' privacy,” a Coles spokesperson said.

And when it comes to finding that odd item in a bag all by itself, Coles explained why this can happen.

“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,” a Coles spokesperson explained.

A picker at Coles filling an online order
'If you only have one item from your order in that picker’s area, it will be in a bag by itself,': Coles explains the mystery of plastic bags containing only one item. Source: Getty Images

What you can do about it

After trialling the use of canvas reusable bags and cardboard boxes, they received “mixed feedback and it caused a significant upward pressure on delivery fees”.

Coles currently deliver all items in Coles better bags which can be recycled simply by taking them to your local Coles and placing them in the REDcycle bins or by leaving them out to be collected when your next delivery arrives.

“As well as being the first retailer to have REDcycle bins in every store, Coles has continued to offer the REDcycle program to our Home Delivery customers during this time.

“The bags just need to be left at the front door or a location specified by the customer,” a Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

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