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A Woolworths customer has expressed his anger at the amount of single-use green bags his produce was wrapped in, while using the ‘crate to bench’ online delivery service.
The ‘crate to bench’ service Woolworths offers is one of the three delivery options available for those shopping online.
Woolworths will pack the order into crates and then unpack the shopping when they arrive, which in theory is cutting down on plastic.
One man called for Woolworths to “work on” their crate to bench policies after he received 15 produce bags in his order.
“I’ve already complained about this but nothing seems to have improved,” he wrote on the Woolworths Facebook page.
“Seriously - why are you wrapping onions, garlic, bananas, sweet potatoes in bags?
“We now have 15 more green plastic bags. Using crate-to-bench is all about reducing bag use, right? Please get this right.”
One person in the comments suggested the man ask for no green produce bags in the note section while completing his online order, to which he said “we shouldn’t need to do that”.
On the Woolworths website, it clearly states the service is not plastic-free and it is an issue of health and safety.
“Due to food safety reasons certain produce items will currently continue to be packed into produce bags. Some other products, such as chilled and frozen items, currently still need to be packed into produce or reusable bags for food safety reasons,” the website says.
Woolworths admits to excessive plastic
On the Facebook post, Woolworths responded to the man, reiterating some products need to be put into produce or reusable bags, however, did admit the 15 bags he received was a bit much.
“Although we still need to pack certain products, such as produce, chilled and frozen items, into produce or reusable bags due to food safety reasons, it does appear that your order has been packed excessively,” Woolies said on Facebook.
The supermarket said they would like to pass on feedback to the team which packed the order and offered the man a refund on the packaging fee.
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Woolworths spokesperson reiterated produce, chilled and frozen items need to be packed into produce or reusable bags.
Woolworths, and other Australian supermarkets, have made strides to eliminate single-use plastic bags in store and online.
In 2018 Woolworths and Coles banned singe-use plastic bags at the checkout, encouraging shoppers to use reusable bags, however, produce bags are still used.
“More than 3 billion bags have been taken out of circulation since the phase out of single-use plastic bags in our stores since June 2018,” a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“Over the last two years, we have also removed around 1000 tonnes of plastic from our bakery and fruit and vegetable ranges.”
Aussie mother and plastic free campaigner, Anita Horan boasts a considerably large social media following where she advocates for people to give the produce bags a miss for items like bananas and pineapples, and last year she petitioned the parliament to make it illegal for businesses to supply produce bags for certain items.
“Free plastic produce bags are an excessive and wasteful use of plastic,” Ms Horan told Yahoo News Australia.
“Recycling plastic or switching to other materials like paper or biodegradable plastic creates other problems and is not the answer. We need to reduce plastic use in the first place.”
In photos from the man’s crate to bench order, items like bananas are seen to be wrapped in produce bags.
Even more bizarrely, last year a woman was confused at receiving her online order from Coles. Four plastic bags were used to individually wrap six bananas.
“Realistically they didn’t even really need plastic in the first place,” the woman wrote on Facebook at the time.
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