'Tax on plastic': Coles shopper's chilli photos highlight problematic supermarket demand

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A Coles shopper’s two photos of bird’s eye chillies sold at the supermarket has sparked debate about plastic food packaging.

The man shared the photo to a popular Facebook group that discusses discount shopping, and it shows the drastic price difference between pre-packaged and loose produce on the shelves at Coles.

The first photo shows pre-packaged chillies being sold for $3.50 for 20 grams, which actually works out to be $175 per kilogram.

On the other hand, the second photo of the loose chillies has a $28 per kilogram price tag.

The man took issue with the more expensive chillies as he said it was a “waste of plastic packaging”.

But a person who responded to his post said: “You are aware it’s that way to promote people into not using plastic right?”

A Coles shopper shared two photos of the loose and pre-packaged chillies to highlight the drastically different price points.
A Coles shopper shared the two photos of the same chillies, which work out to be sold at two drastically different prices. Source: Facebook.

“The tax on plastic is ridiculous now. Don’t buy pre-packaged veggies and you’ll be right.”

A second person pointed out the price difference was the “cost of convenience”.

“You want to be lazy and screw the environment with single-use plastic [be]cause of convenience, then you pay the price,” he said.

“You want to use a paper bag or no bag, and pick your own, then well done, you get a cheaper price.”

A Coles spokesperson told news.com.au the supermarket would continue to offer the choice between pre-packaged and loose chillies.

The spokesperson also cited the demand for pre-packaged chillies and the additional labour involved in the extra packaging meant the higher price point.

In July last year, Coles and Woolworths banned single-use plastic bags in hopes of moving towards a more environmentally-friendly shopping experience.

Coles banned single use plastic bags in 2018, in a bid to help the environment. Source: AAP Image/Lukas Coch.
Coles banned single use plastic bags in 2018, in a bid to help the environment. Source: AAP Image/Lukas Coch.

But there is still the issue of plastic bags used for produce and items which are pre-wrapped in plastic.

In November one Coles customer was furious when she received her Coles order, with each piece of fruit and veg delivered wrapped in a plastic bag.

“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 woman said.

The shopper had requested not to receive any plastic bags with her Click and Collect order.

A spokesperson from Coles responded to the woman’s post online, and said the reason the fruit and vegetables were bagged was for “health and safety reasons”.

Yahoo News Australia has reached out to Coles for comment.

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