Plastic bags: Australia anger over Coles 'caving in to tantrums'

A shopper is seen carrying a reusable plastic bag from Coles

Coles has been handing out reusable bags to customers in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia after bringing in a ban on single-use plastic bags.

But on Wednesday Coles said the change in habit had proven to be "big and difficult" for customers and it meant to hand out its thick, reusable plastic bags for free indefinitely.

Greenpeace criticised the decision as irresponsible and disappointing, saying that Coles is perpetuating the problem of plastic waste by providing free bags.

THE plastic bag debacle is continuing after supermarket giant Coles revealed it was doing yet another backflip on its decision to dump bags.

Coles is facing a second wave of backlash after bowing to pressure from shoppers incensed by the supermarket giant's plans to abandon plastic bags.

In July, Coles initially removed single-use plastic bags from its checkouts nation-wide in a bid to be more environmentally friendly.

Coles said in a statement that when the ban on single-use plastic bags began, some customers said they needed more time to transition to reusable bags.

"Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two so we are offering complimentary reusable Better Bags to help them complete their shopping", the Coles spokesperson said.

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"These so-called reusable plastic bags are nearly as thin as the banned lightweight ones, " he said.

Coles and its larger rival Woolworths account for around 70 percent of the Australian supermarket trade.

Meanwhile, Woolworths has doubled down on its plastic bag ban, and will continue to sell the reusable plastic bags for 15 cents.

"Also, a public message to Brad Banducci and the team at Woolworths - please don't follow suit".

"I appreciate this transition phase is taking longer than anticipated but it is absolutely the right thing to do by our customers", Durkan wrote.

"Coles' colossal plastic bag fail" and "Coles caves" ran headlines on Australia's main news sites.

Also whilst we're here, can we talk about how stupid and useless that new Coles "mini-collectables" campaign is. Others said they have lived overseas, in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, where plastic bag bans have not caused an issue.

"I feel like we don't treat consumers with enough respect because I think they really understand we're trying to avoid the creation of waste, avoid the use of plastic", she said. The only good part of this was the 15c charge, which would change people's behaviour over time.

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