Bagged out: Woolworths to phase out plastic bags within a year | Poll

SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths will phase out single-use plastic bags from its Australian supermarkets within a year in a move designed to cut costs and help the environment.

The move will affect Woolworths’ two Bathurst supermarkets where shoppers will either need to bring their own bags to the shops or pay for thicker, reusable bags at the checkout.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the company believed it needed to take a stand on the issue of plastic bags.,

“We currently give out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags a year and hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage,” Mr Banducci said.

“Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously. 

“Whilst we know this is a major decision, we will work very closely with all of our store teams to ensure the transition for our customers is as simple as possible. 

“Our customers expect responsible retailing and they can be assured that this is just the start of further commitments by Woolworths in this space. Our team continues to work hard to minimise our impact on the environment through the minimisation of food waste, ethical and sustainable sourcing, and reduction in energy use.

“Our customers can also expect further commitments in reducing plastic use in all parts of our supply chain, especially in fruit and vegetables.”

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Friday’s announcement ensures stores in states that have not passed government legislation regarding the distribution of single-use plastic bags - NSW, Victoria and Western Australia - will come in line with stores in states and territories where this is already legislated.

South Australia, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania are already single-use lightweight plastic shopping bag free, with Queensland also legislated to join mid next year.

The new rules will cover all stores across the Woolworths Group nationwide - including Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores, BIG W, BWS and Online.

Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmasters are already single-use plastic bag free.