Australian retailer to take single-use bags out of ACT stores and encourage reusable options

Coles has announced it will remove single-use plastic fresh produce bags in its Australian Capital Territory supermarkets as part of a new trial.

Coles Reusable produce bags

The bags will be taken out of all 12 stores across the Territory from 14 September and customers will be encouraged to bring reusable bags to help them complete their shop.

Reusable mesh fresh produce bags – made with 90 per cent recycled materials – will also be available to buy in-store and from 31 August until 13 September. Australian Capital Territory customers who spend A$5 in-store on fruit and vegetables will receive a free three-pack of reusable bags in preparation for the trial.

Coles chief operations and sustainability officer Matt Swindells said the initiative is expected to reduce about 11 tonnes of plastic each year.

“Under our Together to Zero waste ambition, we are always looking for ways to reduce reliance on unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics packaging and provide sustainable solutions to our customers,” Swindells said.

“This will be the first time a major Australian supermarket will trial a completely reusable method of helping customers purchase their fresh fruit and veggies.

“We will be looking closely at how our Australian Capital Territory customers respond. These insights will inform our consideration for potentially rolling this out to our customers nationally.”

In a further effort to reduce plastic in stores, Coles recently rolled out fresh produce bags made with 50 per cent recycled plastic across the country. The bags can be returned to REDcycle bins at any Coles supermarket to be recycled.

The plastic barrier bags will continue to be used in delis and in Coles Online orders, and paper bags will still be available in the fresh produce section for customers to pack their mushrooms.

The move comes as Coles recently released Marine Reusable Shopping Bags made with 80 per cent recycled plastic, including 20 per cent marine waste collected from coastlines, beaches and waterways.