No movement from NSW govt on plastic bags

Tom Rabe

The NSW government appears not for turning when it comes to its refusal to introduce a state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian in the past has said the government didn't need to legislate because big business was taking action anyway.

Coles supermarkets has had three positions in as many days this week but the coalition still insists it won't follow the lead of every other state and territory and move to ban bags.

State Labor MP Penny Sharpe says Coles' latest backflip on Thursday is proof the NSW government's position has helped create confusion.

"Coles misread the mood of where the community is at and I'm glad they've changed back their decision - but it just shows why voluntary bans and leaving it to individual retailers to do this is not going to work." Ms Sharpe told AAP.

"This is really easy, it has strong support and it will make an immediate difference, yet this government is refusing to do anything about it."

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton says she welcomes the move by Coles to once again say it will phase out single-use plastic bags.

"Plastic bags are a highly visible source of litter, but they are only a small part of the wider plastic litter problem," Ms Upton said in a statement on Thursday.

Ms Upton said the state had committed to reducing litter volume by up to 40 per cent by 2020.

Coles has reversed its decision to extend indefinitely its giveaway of thick, reusable plastic bags after coming under fire from green groups and consumers.