Supermarket giant Woolworths has announced it will no longer offer single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags in its stores.
A rollout of the plan is expected to be completed in the next 12 months.
The approach 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.
The phased approach will begin shortly with the expectation it will be fully in place across the entire Woolworths Group Australian network by at least June 30, 2018.
“As a Group we are committed to listening to our customers and also doing the right thing for the environment, and we feel this is an issue we need to take a stand on,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said.
“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. 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.”
Customers will continue to have access to a range of alternative shopping bag options across the Woolworths Group network of stores. This includes thicker reusable versions at different price points to suit customer needs, with the exception of BIG W, which may provide re-usable bags to customers at no extra cost.