Australian retailer Woolworths has announced it will be getting rid of its single-use lightweight plastic bags by 30 June 2018.
Woolworths said it would be reducing plastic bag usage at its Woolworth supermarkets, Metro stores, Big W, BWS and for its online deliveries nationwide as well.
Just three hours after Woolworths made the announcement on Friday 14 July, national retailer Coles said it would be banning single-use plastic bags within the year as well.
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said the move was part of the retailer’s commitment to being more environmentally friendly, which will involve reducing plastic use across the supply chain, including in fruit and vegetables.
“We currently give out more than 3.2bn lightweight plastic bags a year and hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage,” Banducci said in a company statement released 14 July. “Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously.
“Whilst we know this is a major decision, we will work very closely with all of our store teams to ensure the transition for our customers is as simple as possible.”
A range of reusable bags will be sold at Woolworths stores instead of lightweight plastic bags.
Single-use lightweight plastic bags are already banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, with Queensland to pass similar legislation by June next year.
New South Wales retailer Harris Farm Market partnered with Clean Up Australia for the #BanTheBag campaign earlier this year, and last Friday announced it would phase out single-use plastic shipping bags by 1 January 2018.