Shoppers call for Coles checkout change: 'So much easier'

Coles says shoppers 'love' the Swap-a-box option, but they've stopped short of rolling it out nationally.

A year after Coles rolled out its "Swap-a-box" initiative in a handful of stores around the country, Aussies are calling on the supermarket giant to expand the trial, which they said makes life "so much easier" at the checkout.

Last year, the company announced it would roll out the packing option across Tasmanian stores and in five other branches in Victoria and Western Australia for customer using its Click and Collect service. Promoted as a "game-changer" for people who hate plastic bags accumulating in their kitchen cupboard, the scheme gives online shoppers the option to buy a Coles carry box for $2, which they can return and reuse to transport groceries instead.

A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo at the time the program was designed to "reduce the use of plastic bags" and help Coles achieve its zero waste ambitions. "The response from customers has been very positive, and we look forward to rolling out the Swap-a-box option nationally," the spokesperson said.

A Swap-a-box at Coles, as shoppers calls for the trial's expansion.
The Swap-a-box scheme gives shoppers the option to buy a Coles box for $2, which they can return and reuse for shops instead of using conventional bags. Source: Reddit

Coles shoppers call for expansion to 'Swap-a-box' trial

However a full year on, shoppers are questioning why the program hasn't been expanded, with many noting that their local independent grocer has long relied on supplying customers with boxes to carry their groceries.

Others have declared the boxes would be a far better alternative to the often fragile paper bags sold in stores when doing a small or medium-sized shop.

"Why isn't Coles utilising these at stores? Perfect size, so much easier to use and no more torn paper bags," one shopper wrote, sharing a picture of their box of groceries.

"I remember back in the dying days of the last century, my local supermarket had a wall of empty boxes by the checkouts for people to put their groceries into," one person reminisced online in response to the photo. "Makes so much sense, boxes get recycled, supermarket doesn’t need to dispose of them."

"There must be money in making us buy bags, these swap boxes would be easier for everyone," another argued. Meanwhile others pointed to supermarkets like Foodworks, Foodland, IGA and Bunnings, where they said boxes were in abundance.

While some called for the option to be provided at their local checkout, many Aussies defended Coles, expressing real doubt the service would work on a larger scale.

"People won’t consistently return them. It’s not like a fruit shop or Bunnings reusing their old stock boxes. These boxes look purposely made for the scheme and rely on being returned," one shopper said.

The storefront of a Coles supermarket.
Coles say shoppers love the boxing option, but so far haven't expanded the trial. Source: Getty

Coles weighs in

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a Coles spokesperson said the supermarket was "encouraged by the response" to the scheme from shoppers, but stopped short of announcing any kind of expansion.

"We're encouraged by the response we've received from our reusable box trial which is currently underway at 29 stores across Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland. We look forward to providing more of our customers with the option of a Swap-a-box soon," the spokesperson said

"Our customers who have participated in the trial have said the Swap-a-box is durable and can be used multiple times, has reduce their use of bags and fits well into a car boot."

The Swap-a-box trial is currently on offer for Click and Collect orders at 29 stores around the country in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland.

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