Coles stands firm on $15 paper bags in face of customer criticism

The supermarket giant says there's a perfectly good reason for the high price of the new bags, hailing them as an 'innovative and green' solution.

Coles has defended the decision to offer a new line of paper bags for the hefty price tag of $15 each, with the company saying the washable bags are an innovative solution to plastic waste.

The supermarket chain was forced to respond after a customer publicly called them out over the cost of the new bags. "$15 for a paper bag?" the shopper asked on Twitter. "That's a hard 'no' from me Coles. You're blatantly ripping off your customers. You have no shame."

Coles storefront; Stack of Coles $15 paper bags pictured in the store.
Coles is standing by the price of its new range of washable paper bags, despite some fierce customer criticism. Source: Getty, Twitter

Coles justifies $15 price tag

However, speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a Coles spokesperson hailed the new bags as a cleaner and decidedly greener solution in the war against plastic. "Our washable paper bag, made from FSC certified paper, has recently launched in-store as another option for customers to use when shopping," the spokesperson said.

"The $15 price is based on a number of factors, including the materials used and its ability to be machine washable. The leather-like washable paper bag also has a longer life span compared to soft plastic and paper bags and can carry up to 20kgs," the spokesperson added.

As with Coles' other shopping bags, the new washable paper bags are manufactured in Vietnam.

Coles touts environmental commitments

The Coles rep went on to reiterate Coles' commitment to eliminating unnecessary plastic waste and noted the new bags were just one of many options. "This month we phased out all soft plastic shopping bags in-store and online, which will remove 230 million plastic bags from circulation in one year. This is part of our commitment to reduce plastic.

"We also continue to offer our customers 100% recycled paper bags for 25 cents, a range of reusable tote bags that retail from $1 and chiller bags which are $2.50 each."

To further reduce the use of bags across the business, Coles is piloting a new initiative called Swap-a-box in selected states that allows customers to opt for a reusable box when making Click&Collect orders.

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