Coles makes move toward sustainable plastic bags, ban to come?

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th June 2009

Coles, Australia’s second largest supermarket chain, will be selling new re-usable and biodegradable checkout bags in its stores across Australia from September 1 this year as the issue of plastic bags remains a major talking point.

The Federal Government is still reluctant to impose a nationwide ban; however South Australia and a few small cities around Australia have already made the move.

Coles said the new checkout bags were part of their plan “to provide a broader range of alternatives to single-use plastic bags”, with the bags to be sold at cost price.

Coles Operations Director Stuart Machin said that customers had told the supermarket chain that they wanted access to a range of checkout bag options. “We’ve had a very positive response to the new bags in South Australia following the government ban on single-use plastic bags, as well as in other trial stores around the country,” Mr Machin advised. “We think these new bags will make it even easier for our customers across Australia to make a better bag choice.”

Landcare Australia CEO Brian Scarsbrick said he was thrilled with the new bag rollout. “We are proud to have Coles as one of our longest-standing supporters,” he remarked. “Through the green bag donations we’ve been able to help raise the environmental awareness of thousands of children across hundreds of schools.”

The move will assist the company in adapting should a nationwide ban come into effect and could even be seen as a step toward a ban by the chain. Target, which is a part of the Coles Group owned by Wesfarmers, will this year finalise its own plastic bag ban and the supermarket chain could yet follow suit.