Woolworths has become the first major supermarket to announce the axing of its reusable plastic shopping bags.
The supermarket has confirmed that the 15-cent plastic bags will be gradually phased out of its stores nationwide over the next year.
Woolworth’s sister business BIG W will also phase out its reusable plastic bags by the end of June 2023.
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The announcement comes ahead of World Environment Day this Sunday, with the company claiming the move will see more than 9,000 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation annually.
“We’ve seen a huge shift in shopping habits since we stopped giving out single-use plastic bags, with eight out of ten customers now bringing their own bags from home,” Natalie Davis, Managing Director of Woolworths Supermarkets said.
“The reusable plastic bags have played their part and now it’s time to do away with selling plastic shopping bags at our checkouts for good”.
Woolworths is now encouraging shoppers to bring in their own bags to get used to the change.
“Bringing your own bags is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage our customers to keep up the great work,” Ms Davis said.
“Paper bags will continue to be available for those who forget to bring their own – but ultimately we want to sell less bags altogether.”
The change has already taken place in Western Australia, where Woolworths supermarkets began phasing out plastic bags in March ahead of new local plastics laws in the state.
“We know the change may be an adjustment for some customers and that’s why we’re phasing this change in across the country over the coming year,” the company said.
“We’d like to thank customers in advance for their support as we all work together to create a better tomorrow.”