'No excuse': Coles shopper shames supermarket with display photo

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

A Coles customer has questioned the supermarket over its seemingly excessive reliance on single-use plastic packaging when it comes to fresh produce.

The shopper from NSW spotted the “plastic overload” on a trip to Coles and asked the supermarket if the packaging was truly necessary.

“Do all these really need bags Coles?” the conscious consumer wrote on Twitter along with a photo showing carrots, apples, potatoes and capsicum bundled in plastic bags.

The woman went on to suggest Coles should take a similar approach to certain competitors who she claimed keep fresh produce loose and provide reusable net bags for customers.

A Coles customer photographed carrots, apples, potatoes and capsicum in plastic.
“Do all these really need bags Coles?” the shopper chided on Twitter: Source: AAP/Twitter

Coles responded to the customer who used the hashtags #ecofail #plasticpollution and #noexcuseforsingleuse to end the post.

It’s been a long-standing grievance among some customers.

A supermarket spokesperson wrote that while the company was attempting to reduce packaging where possible, it defended the use of plastic in the image claiming it was important for a number of reasons.

“Transporting products, supporting product longevity, maintaining food safety and reducing food waste,” meant the plastic was required, the Coles spokesperson responded.

The supermarket giant said it was working toward using less packaging in store.

“We are actively working with our fresh produce suppliers to reduce the number of packaging layers, introduce lighter-weight packaging materials and ensuring all packaging is recyclable either through REDcycle or kerbside,” the Coles spokesperson explained.

The Twitter user stood her ground and suggested the supermarket use more sustainable types of packaging.

“There are compostable plastic options, plenty of suppliers in Australia. Could you not just use compostable? It's 2020, time to innovate!” the shopper ended her post.

However, as industry experts have previously told Yahoo News Australia, alternatives including biodegradable bags and more eco-friendly synthetic polymers remain prohibitively expensive for supermarkets and suppliers to adopt en masse.

Nonetheless, plenty of Coles customers have come forward questioning the supermarket’s excessive plastic use.

A home deliver customer recently claimed they had received 10 individual apples placed in six different plastic bags.

In September Coles responded to questions from home delivery customers who were confused by the excessive bags used to pack orders, often finding very few items packed in more bags than seemed necessary.

“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,” a Coles spokesperson explained at the time.

“As such, if you only have one item from your order in that picker’s area, it will be in a bag by itself.”

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