July 19, 2020 | News | No Comments
Australia’s second-largest supermarket, Coles, on Wednesday halted plans to charge shoppers for plastic bags, succumbing to customer fury about a shift away from single-use plastics.
Coles, owned by Wesfarmers, and its larger rival Woolworths Group Ltd removed one-use plastic bags from stores late in June as part of a national push to reduce waste, selling reusable ones for a small fee instead.
It drew a furious response, dubbed "bag rage," as customers angry about having to bring their own sacks or pay 15 Australian cents (8p) for a reusable plastic bag abused checkout staff and vented on social media.
The union representing store workers launched a public campaign on the issue and both grocers capitulated, temporarily waiving the fee.
Coles, which had initially planned to reintroduce the fee on July 12, never levied it and has now extended the waiver indefinitely.
"Coles’ colossal plastic bag fail" and "Coles caves" ran headlines on Australia’s main news sites.
Major retailers in all but two Australian states face fines if they supply single-use plastic bags.
The UN wants to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022 and says more than 60 countries have so far taken steps to ban or reduce plastic consumption.
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