Why this photo has outraged Woolworths customers and staff

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Woolworths has been slammed by a customer for continuing to package bulk items in plastic despite introducing the single-use bag ban.

Melbourne shopper Heath Deering, 32, noticed large bottles of milk waiting to be unloaded from a storage trolley in an aisle at the Pacific Epping centre in the city’s north on Sunday.

What irked him were the several dozen bottles bound together in bundles with heat shrink plastic wrap – a move he thought contradicted the store’s single-use plastic bag ban.

In a post to the supermarket’s Facebook page, the packaging engineer demanded it explain why it was using heat shrink wrap, as he believed milk was normally transported in crates.

The shopper was furious at the heat shrink wrap being used to package the milk. Source: Heath Deering

He also posed the question of whether the shrink wrap was recycled, or thrown into regular rubbish bins.

Speaking with Yahoo News Australia, Mr Deering said he was “surprised” to see the amount of plastic being used to wrap Woolworths’ own brand of two-litre milk.

He said he was used to seeing milk being transported in the traditional reusable crates.

“They are how we get milk delivered to my work. And I've seen them at Woolies before so I was surprised to see milk in shrink wrap,” Mr Deering said.

“This is the first time I've ever seen milk in plastic wrap and if my memory is right all milk was delivered in the milk crates.”

Many of the people commenting on the post said that the packaging would make it more difficult for staff refilling the shelves to do their jobs.

One woman said it would take twice the time to stock the shelves due to the plastic wrap.

“It’s the milk company that does this,” another person said.

A customer criticised Woolworths over its use of plastic. Source: File/Getty Images

A spokesperson for Woolworths told Yahoo News Australia the store received products in whatever packaging was used by suppliers.

“Like all supermarkets, we receive milk as the supplier packs and distributes it. Once the goods are received we’re careful to ensure any packaging is recycled in the appropriate way,” they said.

Just over a year ago the supermarket giant vowed to take 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags out of circulation each year as it moved towards a sustainable future.

Earlier this month it was criticised for using plastic to package smaller bundles of fruit and vegetables.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, download the Yahoo News app from the App store or Google Play and stay up to date with the latest news with Yahoo’s daily newsletter. Sign up here.