Outrage as Coles backflips on plastic bag ban

Coles has revealed it will continue to hand out reusable plastic bags free of charge – indefinitely.

In the days after banning single-use plastic bags from theirs stores, Coles joined Woolworths in offering complimentary reusable bags to help customers with the “transition period”.

The supermarket giant initially said the free bags, which are normally 15c, would only be offered for a week. This date was then extended to August 1.

But that date has been wiped once again with Coles now revealing they will continue to offer them to customers for free.

Coles plastic bag ban backflip
Coles will continue to offer free reusable plastic bags to customers, indefinitely. Source: AAP

A Coles spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo7 News that the complimentary bags will continue beyond August 1.

“When Coles phased out single use plastic bags on 1 July in QLD, NSW, Victoria and WA, some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags,” the spokesperson said.

“Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two so we are offering complimentary reusable Better Bags to help them complete their shopping.”

But environmentalists and customers have slammed the news, saying it’s counter-productive and a disaster for the environment.

The reusable bags were initially only supposed to be free for one week. Source: 7 News
The reusable bags were initially only supposed to be free for one week. Source: 7 News

“These so-called reusable plastic bags are almost as thin as the banned lightweight ones,’’ Director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel told News Corp.

“They have a very limited life and the removal of the price signal also means they are more likely to be littered — something we warned about.”

There have been a series of teething issues for both Woolies and Coles since they dumped single-use bags on June 20 and July 1 respectively.

Customers were reportedly lashing out at staff when they were first forced to pay for the bags before doing so again when the staff weren’t able to stack their reusable bags to their liking.

Several customers claimed their reusable bags started tearing after just one use, while one man vented his fury after he was unable to use a Woolies bag in a Coles store.

Woolworths, who also offered free reusable bags days after their single-use bag ban kicked in, are now again charging 15c for them.