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Coles shopper 'devastated' by excess plastic in online delivery: 'Do better'

A Brisbane Coles customer has urged the retailer to “do better” after discovering an inordinate amount of plastic in her online delivery.

Tamara Schroers placed a relatively small produce order with Coles Online earlier this week, and was shocked to receive an influx of plastic bags with it.

“I started ordering online because I have anxiety and grocery shopping, with all the lights and people, is quite overwhelming for me, but to see literally a dozen or more plastic bags was just so disheartening,” Schroers told Yahoo News.

Coles online order showing plastic produce bags encasing individual items, including grapes which are already in a plastic bag

“I was devastated. I spend so much time and effort composting and making eco-friendly choices for laundry and dishwashing et cetera,” she said.

“Knowing people get this much plastic weekly is truly heartbreaking, knowing the state of the planet.”

Schroers contacted Coles with a suggestion to improve plastic use in deliveries.

“Why can't you have an option where customers can tick that they don't want plastic? I'm more than happy to have my corn cobs touch the grapefruit,” she wrote to the retailer.

Ms Schroers said that she’d love to see simple solutions being adopted by Coles, above and beyond the REDcycle program that is already in place.

Coles produce in plastic bags

“There are so many ways to avoid plastic, and having a ‘recycling’ system for low grade plastic is meaningless in the grand scheme of things,” she told Yahoo News.

“Plastic can only be down-cycled and these bags are so low grade that they'll end up in landfill so quickly. It's just not good enough.”

Yahoo News understands that click-and-collect customers can opt for a bagless shop at over 720 locations, but Coles is continuing to explore opportunities to reduce plastic in orders.

Coles exploring sustainability as online shopping grows

Whilst produce bags are often used in online orders to prevent cross-contamination of products during delivery, Coles has told Yahoo News that enabling customers to make sustainable choices is a top priority.

“Bags are essential to keep items together during the online shopping process and are necessary for health and safety reasons with some products,” a Coles spokesperson said.

“Coles fresh produce bags and our Better Bags can be recycled at all Coles supermarkets. More than 1 billion pieces of flexible plastic have been collected by REDcycle since 2011,” the spokesperson continued.

“As demand for Coles Online continues to grow, we are looking for other ways to help customers make sustainable choices that help them reduce their footprint on the environment.”

Plant-based packaging brand TeloBag recently encouraged Coles to use their bags in store, however Coles previously told Yahoo News that the bags unfortunately do not meet APCO regulations and “can cause litter and other pollution issues.”

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