Top Australian supermarket backs down on plastic bag ban

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Coles has been handing out reusable plastic bags to most of its Australian customers since July 1, when it introduced a ban on single-use plastic bags.

The decision by supermarket giant Coles to indefinitely offer free plastic bags to their customers will outrage their customers and makes a mockery of their stated commitment to reduce plastic waste.

Coles copped enormous public backlash yesterday for its apparent decision to renege on its plastic bag ban, and it seems like that backlash outweighed the pressure they were copping from angry shoppers who didn't want to pay 15 cents per bag.

Greenpeace spokeswoman Zoe Deans cautiously welcomed Coles' latest deadline.

Coles will continue to offer reusable plastic bags for free.

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

"Offering complimentary bags was always an interim measure to help our customers adjust their shopping habits and Coles will no longer be providing Better Bags free of charge from Wednesday 29 August", Coles said.

"Many customers are still finding themselves a bag or two short at the register and we want to do the right thing by them during this transition period", Mr Durkan's note says.

"That's why we are extending our complimentary bag offer until Wednesday 29 August for our customers in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia", he said.

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Sally Edsall was also displeased.

"I'm a 30-year customer at Eastgate in Bondi Junction", wrote one.

Coles and rival Woolworths both recently banned single-use plastic bags and began selling reusable bags instead.

Another: "Absolutely disgraceful that with all the obvious and overwhelming evidence of plastic ruining every part of the environment.You can't even follow through with such a common sense request for the benefit of our planet".

"Working with their teams in the lead up to the campaign to replace single use bags, we were inspired by and supported Coles' nationwide desire to replace single use plastics".

So they are going to be giving away plastic bags for the foreseeable, in other words, you're never going to get your recycling bag in Australia.

"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.

"While a minority of people are struggling to cope, we know it's just a matter of time for people to adapt to the change".