Australia’s largest retail group to discontinue reusable plastic bags

Following bans on single-use plastic bags across the nation, Australia’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, has taken the transition one step further by pledging to phase out all types of plastic bags in their stores.

The company has pledged that its supermarket stores and retail subsidiary, BIG W, would phase out all plastic bags across its Australian stores by June 2023, the change estimated to remove 9,000 tonnes of plastic from circulation annually, reports Xinhua news agency.

While making the announcement on Friday, Managing Director of Woolworths Supermarkets, Natalie Davis, said the reusable bags were originally introduced to help customers adjust to the removal of single-use plastic bags.

“We’ve seen a huge shift in shopping habits since we stopped giving out single-use plastic bags, with eight out of 10 customers now bringing their own bags from home,” she 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.”

On Wednesday, New South Wales (NSW) became the last state or territory to prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags, as the state looks to phase out all “problematic”, single-use plastics.

Over the following 12 months, a slew of “problematic” plastic items would join the ban, including plastic straws, plastic cutlery, cotton buds and other single-use plastic containers.

“Single-use plastic items and packaging make up 60 percent of all litter in NSW,” said NSW Environment Minister James Griffin while announcing the ban on Wednesday.

“By stopping the supply of problematic plastic in the first place, we’re helping prevent it from entering our environment as litter, or going into landfills.”

The bans in NSW are part of an “NSW Plastic Action Plan” that aims to stop 2.7 billion items of plastic from entering the environment over the next 20 years.




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