Coles has taken its first steps towards phasing out single-use plastic carry bags, after Woolworths began removing them from stores earlier this month.
Ahead of a nationwide roll-out from the 1st of July, one Coles store in each state went plastic-free from today.
Coles in Williamstown, Victoria, is one of the first to say goodbye to the plastic bag and cashier Christine Smith says the reaction has, so far, been good.
“It’s been mostly positive this morning, no negative responses at all,” she said.
The other Coles locations starting their plastic bag ban now included Balgowlah in New South Wales, Hope Island in Queensland, and Inglewood in Western Australia.
“We are encouraging customers to bring their own bags, bring their own baskets, bring their own trolleys,” Coles spokesperson Martine Alpins said.
Alternatively shoppers can pay 15 cents for re-usable bags made from recycled plastic.
While most people are happy with the idea, one Melbourne customer said the red and white polkadot bags were “a bit girly.”
“All they’ve done is transferred from a free bag to a plastic bag you gotta pay for,” another said.
But most were happy to be doing something to help the environment.
Any additional soft plastic food packaging can be dropped into the bins provided.
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“It’s then recycled into wonderful products like benches, table settings, decking, bollards,” Redcycle’s Liz Cassell said.
It seems few will miss the grey plastic bags which can, on average, take up to 1000 years to break down in the environment.
It’s hoped the ban will drastically cut the amount of plastic waste that ends up choking waterways, birds and sea creatures.
A new range of re-usable shopping bags designed by children will soon be available, with proceeds going to charity.