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Double bagflip! Coles’ bag ban is back


Double bagflip! Coles’ bag ban is back


Coles backflipped again on its bag ban, after 24 hours of fervent public criticism.

For those having trouble keeping up, that means the bag ban is back, a cutoff date has been set for the availability of complimentary plastic grocery bags.

Yesterday Coles CEO John Durkan emailed 115,000 staff informing them of the 29 August cutoff date for the bag handout. The email came one day after Coles backflipped on its original commitment to remove the free bags by August 1.

Its decision to repeal the ban in the first place can only be described as a PR disaster, with backlash from environmental groups, members of the public and retail competitors.




“As you would have experienced first-hand in stores, this has been a big and difficult change for many of our customers,” said Durkan in his staff email yesterday.

“I appreciate this transition phase is taking longer than anticipated but is absolutely the right thing to do by our customers,” says the email.

The original ban, scheduled for 1 August, would see Coles switch to offering 15 cent sturdy plastic bags. Its decision to repeal this particular move meant giving out these bags for free – effectively introducing more plastic into the system due to the heavier, larger plastic bags.

Still, pressure from unhappy customers seemed enough for Coles to backflip on its 1 August cutoff.

“When Coles phased out single-use plastic bags on 1 July in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags,” a spokesperson told news.com.au, defending the decision.

“Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two so we are offering complimentary reusable Better Bags to help them complete their shopping.

“Complimentary bags are intended to be an interim measure to help customers make the transition to reusable bags.”


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Image copyright: gasparij / 123RF Stock Photo

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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