The hidden problem with Woolworths' major checkout change

As Woolworths phases out reusable plastic shopping bags, customers may notice a problem with the paper bag alternative.

As Woolworths announces the phasing out of all reusable plastic shopping bags by June, the paper bag alternative is expected to be met with some backlash due to ongoing supply issues.

Woolworths signalled two years ago its intentions to have all stores nationwide supplied with Australian-made paper bags, but the supermarket has not been able to achieve that goal.

Woolworths paper bags can be seen in store for customers to pick up, with a sign overheard reading, 'We're trialling a plastic bag-free checkout in this store'.
Paper bags will soon be the entry bag option for customers visiting Woolworths, with plastic bags set to be removed from the store by June. Source: Getty

Woolworths acknowledge the paper bag supply shortfall

Woolworths told Yahoo News the decision to remove plastic bags from all Australian stores had been a contributing factor to customers still finding paper bags produced overseas.

With the intention to now have the paper bag as the entry bag option, a higher volume would be required to replace reusable plastic bags. Woolworths has sourced another manufacturer to help meet demand.

"The production capacity in Australia is currently limited and we’re working with our partners to increase it," a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo.

"We’re working with two Australian manufacturers to source as many locally made paper bags as possible."

Backlash over Woolies' paper bags

After announcing in 2020 that paper bags would be available to shoppers, many were angered to learn the bags were being manufactured overseas in China and Vietnam.

Responding to the backlash, the supermarket vowed to locally produce their paper bags and announced a partnership with South Australian manufacturer Detpack. Some states quickly rolled out the locally made bags with Woolworths promising the transition would soon occur nationwide.

“The launch of the bags in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia will provide a welcome boost for local manufacturing, which we’ll continue to build on as we roll them out to all parts of Australia by the end of the year," Woolworths announced back in April 2021.

The plan to locally source Woolworths paper bags was set to create more Australian jobs, however, several NSW customers have found their recently purchased paper bags still appear to be manufactured overseas.

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