Woolworths plans to phase out 15 cent plastic bags in WA in July

This article first appeared in Convenience and Impulse Retailing, authored by Deborah Jackson

Woolworths will phase out its 15 cent plastic bags in Western Australia ahead of new state legislation banning a variety of shopping bags from July.

Over the next month, stores across the state will gradually run down stock of its reusable plastic bags, with its Australian-made paper shopping bags to become the option for shoppers who have forgotten to bring their own bags, as well as online orders.

Woolworths was the first national supermarket to remove single use plastic shopping bags in 2018, introducing its 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags, followed by the addition of a paper shopping bag to Woolworths’ range in 2020.

Today, more than 80 per cent of Woolworths customers in WA bring their own bags to shop, representing a significant change in customer habits in recent years.

Woolworths State General Manager for WA, Karl Weber says the change will see more than 30 million plastic bags removed from circulation in WA every year.

“While our paper bags will continue to be available, the most sustainable bag you can use is the reusable one you bring from home.

“The vast majority of our customers already bring their own reusable bags to shop, which is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage customers to keep up the great work.

“We know the change brought about by this new WA legislation may be an adjustment for some customers and we thank them in advance for their support as we all work together to grow greener.”

Minister for Environment, Hon. Reece Whitby said that WA was named the top jurisdiction in the country two years in a row by WWF Australia, for the work that is being done on reducing single-use plastics.

“The WA community has shown overwhelming support for this – and I would like to thank everyone, including Woolworths, who have embraced these important changes.”

Woolworths has invested in a multi-million dollar partnership with family-owned Australian manufacturer Detpak to increase local paper bag manufacturing capacity. Together, they have worked to further increase local production of paper bags to provide the additional volume required by the removal of plastic shopping bags in Western Australia.

The partnership represents a significant boost in local manufacturing, creating a total of 25 new Australian jobs and contributing to broader efforts to grow Australia’s local production capacity across industries.

The paper bag is designed to be reused and can carry up to 6kg of groceries. All paper used is sourced responsibly and is certified by PEFC, to give customers confidence their purchase supports sustainable forest management.

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