Woolworths shoppers switching to the 15c reusable plastic bags have voiced their anger at the retail giant for “useless” bags that reportedly break and tear after one use.
Since the national ban on single-use plastic bags from supermarkets, shoppers who have not brought their own bags to collect their groceries have been forced to buy the 80% recyclable plastic bags.
Following backlash, Woolworths decided to offer the bags to customers for free while they transition to new habits, however some have found their “reusable” product to break and tear, deeming it not so useful.
“So much for the reusable plastic bags,” Newcastle mother Sharon Linsley wrote on Facebook, with a picture of the bags punctured with holes.
“I only went to Woolworths yesterday at Glendale. One use and they have holes already. So these will become single use bags,” she wrote.
“So much for the environment.
She also reported having to ask the checkout staff not to fill the bags so much after handles broke on a previous bag that was filled with items that were too heavy to carry.
“I am really disappointed with the bags,” she added.
South Australian woman Trace Stevens reported a similar experience.
“The new plastic bags are useless [seeing] as the handles break and your left with struggling to grab the bag before it hits the ground as groceries fall out,” she wrote on Facebook.
“If we are to pay for this rubbish then it needs to be improved to at least hold groceries in them.”
Ms Stevens said she usually brought in her own bags but “got caught out needing to go get some things for tea and didn’t have a bag.”
“I relied on your plastic bags but never again, they should be free seen as they are of such poor quality.”
Gabby Newman also described issues with her shopping bags.
“I have to buy lots as I cannot carry them as full as your operators fill them and I have a bag that I paid for (prior to the complimentary period) which after 1 use is now torn,” she wrote.
“I’m also hoping that I do not have to replace these bags weekly as my general shop is over $250 and that’s a lot of bags.”
She opted against purchasing the 99c bags, as it ate into the family budget.
Ms Newman also raised the question of sustainability if those broken bags were thrown in the rubbish.
“I will have to throw it away into landfill and I’m hoping it will break down faster than the single use bags,” she said.
Woolworths responded saying its reusable bags were more durable than the single-use plastic bags now banned from supermarkets. Broken bags are also able to be recycled in the REDcycle bins in stores.
“Our new reusable bags are made from at least 80% recycled plastic, they’re stronger than single-use plastic bags and can be recycled at the end of their use, which will help reduce the impact on the environment,” it said in a statement.
The supermarket advised shoppers to let a team member know if their new bag breaks in store, and they will help them out.
“While bringing your own bags is our first preference, if you get caught out, we have a range of options available, including our new Bag for Good which has a lifetime guarantee and will fund our Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants Program in FY19.”
The Woolworths 99c (usually green) bag had a lifetime guarantee, with the supermarket promising to replace any broken bags for free.
“If it ever gets damaged, we’ll replace it for free no matter when you bought it from us. Simply bring your damaged bag to the Customer Service desk in any of our stores and we’ll swap it for a new one. We’ll even recycle your old one so it can keep doing good, Woolworths said.
“Any money we make from the sale of the Bag for Good in the next 12 months, will fund the Woolworths Junior Landcare Grants Program, encouraging young Australians to play an active role in ensuring the sustainable future of their environment.”