Woolworths To Ditch Reusable Plastic Bags In All Stores Across Australia!

Jul 29, 2022by Olivia - F&F

Woolworths is finally ditching plastic bags — for good! Let’s take a look at why Australia’s Fresh Food People are phasing out its 15c reusable plastic bags in all stores across Australia.

Plastic Bag BanPlastic Bag Ban

Image: Woolworths Group

Woolworths To Phase Out Reusable Plastic Bags

Over the years, Woolworths has taken strides to become not only Australia’s largest supermarket chain, but also Australia’s most sustainable supermarket chain. Now, they’ve done it again! In Early June, Woolworths Group announced their pledge to remove all plastic shopping bags from their supermarkets — for good. 

By June 2023, more than 1,000 Woolworths supermarkets nationwide will no longer sell 15c reusable plastic bags. Instead, Woolworths is encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable bags — which is clearly working!

We’ve seen a huge shift in shopping habits since we stopped giving out single use plastic bags, with 8 out of 10 customers now bringing their own bags from home. Reusable plastic bags have played their part, now it's time to move forward.

Ever Eco Cotton Net Tote Bag Long HandleEver Eco Cotton Net Tote Bag Long Handle

Image: Ever Eco

BYO Grocery Bags Is Becoming A Cultural Norm!

For many of us, bringing our own grocery bags to the supermarket is second-nature! But, can you remember a time when you didn’t use reusable bags regularly? With any habit, it takes time and repetition to master. This is why Woolworths is phasing out its 15c reusable plastic bags over the next year.

“We know the change may be an adjustment for some customers and that’s why we’re phasing this change in over the coming year.  We’d like to thank customers in advance for their support as we all work together to create a better tomorrow,” said Natalie Davis. 

It’s expected that this small change for shoppers will see more than 9,000 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation annually. This is fantastic news for our environment and wildlife! As we know, plastic never truly disappears.

Woolworths Reusable BagWoolworths Reusable Bag

Image: Woolworths Group

Most Plastic Bag Bans Don’t Include Heavyweight Plastic Bags

Over the years, we’ve seen many retailers phase out free, lightweight plastic bags. These flimsy plastic bags — with a thickness of 35 microns or less — were typically used once and thrown into landfill. Now, all states and territories in Australia have finally banned lightweight plastic shopping bags. ACT was the first to enforce a state-wide ban in 2011. NSW only banned lightweight plastic bags in June, 2022. 

The biggest problem is that the majority of retailers pivoted to offer “reusable” plastic bags for a small fee. 

Many shoppers still treated the “reusable” heavyweight plastic bags in the same way, basically, using them once and throwing them away! Thankfully, more retailers are recognising that this bag system isn’t sustainable.

Woolworths Paper BagWoolworths Paper Bag

Image: Woolworths Group

WA Is The First State To Ban Heavyweight Plastic Bags!

Did you know that WA has banned all plastic bags with handles throughout the state? As such, Woolworths’ WA stores were the first in Australia to phase out the 15c reusable plastic bags. Thankfully, 76% of WA shoppers support the ban! 

After the ban takes place, there will still be options available to you if you forget your reusable shopping bags. Woolworths’ 20c reusable paper bag, 99c fabric tote bag, and 99c foldable bag will still be available, among new options in the pipeline. 

“Bringing your own bags is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage our customers to keep up the great work. Paper bags will continue to be available for those who forget to bring their own — but ultimately we want to sell less bags altogether,” said Natalie Davis.

What do you think about Woolworths’ nationwide plastic bag ban? We think it’s a huge win for our environment! It’s estimated that eight out of ten customers already bring their own reusable bags into Woolworths, so this move will encourage the remaining shoppers to create better habits. 

If you find that you’re still forgetting your Reusable Shopping Bags, why not take a look at our range of reusable string bags, tote bags, and canvas bags? Remembering your grocery bags is easy when they reflect your own style!

If you’re keen to stay updated on eco initiatives happening across Australia, take a look at our Eco News category and check out the blogs below. 

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