Supermarket giant Woolworths has announced its supermarkets will no longer provide shoppers with single-use plastic bags from 20 June 2018.
The move also effects its BWS, Metro and Woolworths Petrol stores, where group wide more than 3.2 billion plastic bags are handed out each year.
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Woolworths Group stated last year that it would end the use of plastic bags by the end of June 2018 in states where there had not been a ban implemented yet.
Woolworths Group Chief Executive Officer Brad Banducci said the company feels strongly that this is the right thing to do.
“Our teams have been working hard behind the scenes to accelerate the rollout of this plan so we can start making a positive impact on the environment as quickly as possible,” Mr Banducci said.
“We know this is a big change for our customers and store teams, and we need to do all we can to make the transition as seamless as possible for both.
“To this end, we have a dozen supermarkets across Australia going single-use plastic bag free from today. We’ll closely monitor feedback from customers in these stores and apply any lessons we learn to our national rollout on 20 June.”
The 12 Woolworths stores phasing out plastic bags from today are:
- NSW – Woolworths Marayong, Greenway Village, Dural, Mullumbimby
- VIC – Woolworths Wyndham Vale, Taylors Lakes, Toorak
- QLD – Woolworths Mossman, Noosa Civic
- WA – Woolworths Singleton, South Fremantle, Cottesloe
Planet Ark Chief Executive Officer Paul Klymenko said this is a welcome move by Woolworths that will have a positive effect on the environment.
“Single-use plastic bags have become a huge problem for Australia’s oceans and waterways where they cause significant harm to turtles, whales and fish. They also don’t breakdown in landfill and require significant resources to manufacture in the first place,” Mr Klymenko said.
“Experiences in countries like the UK and Ireland have shown the introduction of small charges on plastic bags can end up reducing plastic bag usage by up to 85 percent as shoppers embrace reusable alternatives, and we have every confidence this can happen in Australia too,” he said.
Boomerang Alliance Director Jeff Angel said the community wants action on the alarming growth of plastic pollution.
“It is gratifying to see retailers like Woolworths moving on plastic bags to help save our oceans and wildlife, with international scientific consensus putting bags in the top three dangers of ingestion and entanglement of marine life,” Mr Angel said.
“We encourage shoppers to adopt reusable bags. Of course, there’s much more to do in stores to reduce our plastic footprint and we look forward to working with consumers, retailers and government to push the agenda along,” he said.
Woolworths has also said it aims to offer flexible plastic recycling options in all supermarkets via the REDcycle program. REDcycle allows customers to return soft plastic packaging used for produce, frozen food, confectionary packets and shopping bags that are then sent to recycling partners. The material collected are then turned into products like outdoor furniture.