Customer confusion as Coles launches new 20c plastic bag

A frustrated shopper has accused Coles of "robbing” customers by increasing the cost of their reusable plastic bags.

The customer took to Facebook to question the supermarket giant as to why they had quietly increased the price of their 15-cent Better Bags to 20 cents.

“You already make money (A LOT) from the 15c bags, now you increase them to 20c which is profit stacked on profit stacked on forced donations,” the customer posted on the Coles Facebook page.

“You are robbing your customers with these shady tactics,” he wrote.

Photo shows new Marine Bag with 20c price listed. Source: Facebook
A shopper has posted a furious message on Coles' Facebook page demanding to know why they increased the price of resuable bags. Source: Facebook

However, what the customer didn’t realise is that it wasn’t “shady tactics” by the supermarket at all.

He had actually purchased one of Coles’ new line of 20-cent Marine Bags and not a 15-cent Better Bag.

Coles launch new line of Marine Bags

Coles launched their Marine Bags in partnership with a clean-tech company to convert recycled fishing nets, trawls and ropes into the plastic materials that help make up the reusable plastic bags.

Much like the Better Bags, the Coles Marine Bags are made up of 80 percent recycled materials.

The only difference is that 20 per cent of these materials are from marine industry waste that would otherwise end up polluting the ocean.

Coles Marine bags. Source: Coles
Coles has recently introduced Marine bags. Source: Coles

A spokesperson for Coles told Yahoo News Australia that the Marine Bags are part of a “trial in a small number of stores” and they will “wait to hear feedback from customers before rolling them out to more stores.”

“The Marine Bags cost 20c and 10 per cent of proceeds will be donated to Clean Up Australia,” said the spokesperson.

“As they are made from recycled fishing materials the colours range from white to a light green.”

Coles' pledge to cut plastic waste

Coles has previously joined the likes of Aldi and Woolworths to join the Plastics Pact, which pledges to eliminate “problematic packaging” and the resulting waste by making all of their plastics recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

Coles has already banned single-use plastic bags as part of the pact, instead introducing their reusable and recyclable Better Bags, to circulate plastics they still use and encourage customers to use reusable plastic bags.

Coles Chief Executive Commercial and Express Greg Davis said that as one of Australia’s leading retailers, Coles understands the importance of finding a more sustainable future for plastic packaging, such as creating a circular economy for plastic.

“As a founding member of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact, we now have an opportunity to build and shape meaningful change through plastic packaging and move towards a circular plastic economy as a global community,” said Mr Davis.

Customers slam Coles’ excess use of plastic bags

Not all shoppers shared the same view of Coles’ move to recyclable plastic bags, with some even questioning the supermarket’s sustainability policy after receiving online orders with “unnecessary” amounts of plastic bags.

A frustrated shopper took to the Coles Facebook page to question why they had used three times the amount of reusable bags than were required for her order, with some only holding a single item.

“Please explain to me how this is the correct way to bag an order, I was given 6 bags for things that could easily fit in 2,” wrote an annoyed shopper on the Coles Facebook page, alongside a photo of several plastic bags.

“I don't care about the cost of the bag but more so your claims that you're charging for bags to save the environment not make money,” she wrote.

Coles quickly responded to the posts saying the excess use of bags was due to managing “health and safety concerns” of staff and customers during Covid-19.

“Our pickers collect items for multiple orders, from their allocated aisles of the supermarket.

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

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