An alarming number of Australian shoppers are stealing reusable plastic bags, a new survey has revealed.
The change was met with anger from many shoppers and now a survey of 3000 adults conducted by consumer review website Canstar Blue has found about 19 per cent of them have taken a reusable bag from the supermarket without paying.
It also found people aged 18-29 were most likely to steal plastic bags while anyone aged 60 or older were least likely.
Men were also found to be more likely to steal reusable bags than women.
Canstar editor Simon Downes said some shoppers see reusable plastic bags as “fair game”.
“But the reality is that, if you take something you need to pay for without paying, it’s stealing, regardless of the cost,” Mr Downes said.
Mr Downes added 15 cents for a bag might not seem like a lot but “if you’re buying several bags a week, over the course of a year, those costs add up”.
Coles and Woolworths initially handed out the bags for free so shoppers could get used to the change.
Coles wouldn’t comment on bag theft but a spokesperson said the supermarket is “delighted” to see customers bringing reusable bags to the store.
The survey found 80 per cent of people bring in their own bags – however, it didn’t clarify if these were all reusable ones.
A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo7 a majority of Woolies shoppers are now bringing their own bags.
“We also find the vast majority of our customers do the right thing and scan all items through our self-service checkouts,” the spokesperson said.
“We always have team members on hand to assist customers in our self-service areas if needed.”