Coles shopper 'disappointed' by 'bring your own bags' fail

A confused Coles shopper was disappointed after receiving unwanted and "unnecessary" plastic bags in her online order from a Queensland store.

The customer, despite indicating to the Fairfield store – in Brisbane's south – she wanted to use her own bags for her Click and Collect order, received her groceries packed into several plastic bags.

She placed her order on Saturday and collected the order on Sunday. To her dismay, her order came packed in eight single-use plastic fruit and vegetables bags.

"All the fruit and veg was put in those little, thin plastic bags that are still available in store for just that purpose. However, I assumed that in choosing the 'I’ll bring my own bags' option I’d have avoided that," she told Yahoo News Australia.

Coles store front with fluorescent sign.
Coles was criticised for packing a shopper's order into plastic bags after she selected the option to use her own. Source: Getty Images

"It’s just so unnecessary and wasteful. I was pretty disappointed as we try really hard not to use unnecessary plastic."

It was the first time she had used the Click and Collect service, and likely the last.

Shoppers using Coles' Click and Collect service who select "no bags" should have their groceries, aside from fresh fruit and veg, delivered in a crate.

The Brisbane shopper said she received both fresh produce bags and heavy-duty plastic bags.

A Coles employee said they were "disappointed" to see an image shared by the shopper, which showed the haul of bags she received with her order.

"Our online service is there to provide a convenient experience and we're sorry to learn that wasn't the case for you this time," their reply to her tweet read.

Coles explains when plastic bags are used

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia an item may be placed into a bag over leakage concerns.

"If a team member is worried an item might leak e.g. in store trayed meat, deli items, milk, etc, they may place the item into a bag to ensure it doesn’t leak onto anything else," the spokesperson said.

Frozen items are also put into thicker white bags regardless of customer choice.

The spokesperson added all Click and Collect locations in Victoria, and one in Tasmania had bagged orders only due to coronavirus measures.

All other states have bagging options turned on for customers.

"If a store has bagging preferences turned on customers can BYO their own bags for Click and Collect just like they can for in-store purchases, the Coles Online team member will bring out their order in the red crates and pack it into the customers bags at their car boot," the spokesperson said.

The customer received a total of eight bags, including supposedly 'phased out' single-use bags. Source: Twitter
The customer received a total of eight bags. Source: Twitter

Pledge to ban single-use plastics

Single-use plastic bags were phased out by both Coles and Woolworths in 2018, however the clear, fresh produce bags – used for fruit, vegetables and meat – were kept, as well as thick "heavy duty" plastic bags.

The fresh produce bags are made of 30 per cent recycled plastic and can be recycled through REDCycle bins.

Coles announced in February its plan to stop selling single-use plastic tableware products from July 1 in all stores nationwide.

The items, including plastic cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery, were pulled from shelves at the beginning of March by all retailers, including Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, in South Australia due to state legislation.

Aldi stopped selling single-use plastics at the end of 2020, while Woolworths has yet to name a date for when it will do the same.

Victoria will also ban problematic single-use plastics by February 2023, with the same to come into force for the ACT from July 1 this year.

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