Make them pay

Who said that Woolworths and Coles don’t collude? Is it purely coincidence that both announce on the same day that they will be phasing out plastic bags within 12 months?

Of course all the usual lobbyists have been consulted and applaud the decisions.

And both Woolworths and Coles claim that they are acting in response to requests from customers. For example from the Woolworths press release:

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

So implement a cost cutting measure and say that you are both environmentally friendly and acting in response to customer demand.

And yet – if customers really did not want to not have plastic bags, why do they take them in vast quantities.

I for one object very much to the decision. I like my plastic bags, and they improve the hygiene at my home.

I hope Coles and Woolworths feel the pain in the only way they know – on the bottom line as their customers show what they really think about measures to reduce customer service.

What next? That they will announce a maximum quantity of sugary drinks? Are Woolworths and Coles going to become the police to stop us enjoying ourselves?

About Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus

I'm a retired general who occasionally gets called back to save the republic before returning to my plough.
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97 Responses to Make them pay

  1. Mike of Marion

    That initiative sounds like a ‘collusion’

    Shouldn’t the ACCC be all over that ‘hand-in-hand outcome’?

    Oh! Wait!!

  2. incoherent rambler

    Hmm. I might try the full trolley and then: “What no bags! Sorry I don’t want that unless I can have the bags”

    Other disruptive suggestions would be appreciated.

  3. Rich

    Corporatism is a form of pandering to the luvvies in the HR department

  4. calli

    Go to either supermarket, and you will see row upon row of polystyrene trayed and plastic coated meat. And fruit and veg in plastic containers and plastic bagged.

    Nice and convenient for the supermarket.

    Get to the checkout and it’s bag shaming for you, you planet wrecker! Here, buy our *approved* plastic bags and cover your shame with them.

  5. Diogenes

    Rambler,
    When kmart tried this, Mrs Diogenes made sure she had BigW bags with her, and placed the products purchased into that. As of today she will carry Aldi bags when she shops at Coles or Woolies and have the checkout chick/bing boy place the goods into them !

  6. destroyer D69

    Of course they will celebrate the push to remove the bags. The cost of them is factored into their pricing structure, so no more bags….. less overhead….. no decrease in prices…. a dose of virtue signals to the froot loops..more profits….. Whats not to go along with the idea?

  7. H B Bear

    Just competition Australia style.

  8. lily

    It is all about money, they just love selling their new fancy bags to you, it has been bag free shopping in Tassie for a number of years and it is still a pain in the neck.
    The kids at the check out couldn’t give a stuff what brand of bags you use, they are not even interested in packing your groceries properly.
    The only thing Woolies or Coles have taught them is how to say ‘Have a Good day’ after they have let you swipe your card or hand over your cash.

  9. incoherent rambler

    So who supplies Woolies/Coles with their plastic bags?

    I want to buy a box of them.

  10. Tarzanna

    It appears that the ‘ban’ applies only to carry bags, not the smaller plastic bags for fruit and veg. So we can contribute the the supermarkets’ environmental efforts by repudiating these little bags too…let’s load all our fruit and veg loose into our trollies. Just think of the fun at the checkouts!

  11. Go to either supermarket, and you will see row upon row of polystyrene trayed and plastic coated meat. And fruit and veg in plastic containers and plastic bagged.

    Absolutely. If they were truly environmentally conscious, they would abandon these abominations.

  12. Shy Ted

    All things being equal, more or less, the supermarket with the best checkout chicks gets my money.

  13. iamok

    I have refused to buy those hideous green or blue hession bags from days one. It was clear this was another way of pushing the guilty “saving the planet” line whilst reducing costs significantly and creating another income stream.

    And as for those self serve checkouts eh? What a great idea that is. Jobs anyone?

  14. Tel

    Shoppers will vote with their feet based on convenience and price. There’s plenty of competition in the Australian market. I like the free bags so I can use them for garbage bags… if I had to buy both shopping bags and also garbage bags it would be a nuisance.

    Both Bunnings and Dan Murphy’s provide free cardboard boxes which are also useful.

  15. Greg

    These bags are produced from a waste stream of the refining process which will now be burnt producing lots of lovely CO2.

    It seems that Woolworths agrees with Donald Trump that Global Warming is a hoax.

  16. PeterF

    Better hurry Shy Ted. Won’t be too long and the Checkout Chick will be a long distant memory. Our local Woolies are pushing us to more and more self service checkouts by closing down staffed checkouts during the day. No more bags, no more checkout chicks just more prepackaged crap from China.
    .

  17. john

    Target removed free plastic bags and had to bring them back. Hopefully Coles and Woolies will, too.

  18. Turtle of WA

    IGA all the way.

    Plastic is fantastic. Look what it’s done for hygiene alone.

    I sometimes ask the enthusiastic anti-plastic-bag check out chick, what is plastic made from?

    I then explain, hydrocarbons – “fossil fuels” from under the ground. And what do we do with them when we’re finished using them as plastic bags?

    We put ’em back under the ground.

    There is a conflation of the issue of littering with the issue of the value of plastic products such as plastic bags. If used responsibly and not littered with, plastic is an all-out winner.

    This is another case of Green/CronyCapitalism/Socialism and it stinks to high heaven.

  19. Lorraine

    I think that I will put to use my plastic bags that I bought from ALDI when shopping at Coles and Woollies.

    I stand to be corrected, but it is my understanding that the green and blue hessian look-a-like bags do not last all that long and do not break down when discarded.

  20. struth

    With all the massive heavy industry from mining to every other fossil fuel burning, tyre wearing, timber cutting, cotton pickin’, you name it, that support it in the great chain that supplies it and buys from it, a supermarket really is one of the pinnicles of western innovation.

    Semi- trailers are constantly supplying it in the back door loading area, it’s diesel powered fridge vans running, etc, electricity being consumed etc etc, while they humour your typical left wing wanker, who as dumb as dog shit, and totally insulated from the real world and how it works, pontificates about plastic bags he/she/ it doesn’t have to use in a supermarket he/she / it doesn’t have to buy from.
    And to add more insanity, they will buy glad garbage bin liners for their bins anyway.
    Supermarket bosses, like most management cave too quickly to appeasement, to make the noisy minority go away.
    They never will, and will only get worse.
    Losing your principles and not standing firm against the insanity and hypocrisy of leftism, only encourages it to more totalitarian behaviour.

  21. hzhousewife

    I have a lovely big blue “boat bag” from IKEA. I can load all the loose fruit and veg into that and front up to the human checkout. They can sort it out.

  22. struth

    By the way, LQC, you seem a little more grounded these days.

    Can we take it that you have recovered from TDS or have you reached adulthood?

    Either way, your marks have definitely improved.

    B

  23. a happy little debunker

    People said this same type of stuff when they replaced paper bags.

    You will gripe, you will moan & you will get over it!

  24. Mitch

    Slippery slope fretting over plastic bags is why no-one takes libertarians seriously.

  25. Gazman

    I object also. Having those plastic bags at home is really useful, and as you say hygienic for wrapping up all manner of waste for safe disposal. And not a single one ends up blowing down the street and into the ocean. They all end up in landfill, where they are safely and permantnetly removed from the ecosystem. The whole thing with Woolies and Coles doing this for the environment is bollocks. It is populism mixed with greed to skim off more money from the most vulnerable customers.

    I wonder if there are studies showing any environmental benefits of removing plastic bags from SA or ACT. All I can see from both is dysfunctional government and dependence upon our taxes for survival.

  26. incoherent rambler

    Self serve checkouts? I think they are onto something.

    We could use this in the health system.
    Cut hand? Swipe card, insert here for stitches.
    Lobotomy? Swipe card, insert head here.
    Circumcision? Swipe card, insert dick here.

  27. Anthony Park

    Its not a real plastic bag ban as far as I can understand it. They are substituting thin bags for thicker ones.

  28. Roger

    Shoppers will vote with their feet based on convenience and price. There’s plenty of competition in the Australian market.

    Not really; based on convenience and price the only real options are Coles, W’worths or Aldi, all of which will be plastic bag free soon. IGAs are more expensive and fewer on the ground and Costco is not for everyone. The market won’t really be shaken up until Amazon Fresh and the new German player comes in.

  29. incoherent rambler

    Agreed Roger. Methinks Amazon has the potential to make a mess of cosy AU retail (on lots of fronts).
    Coles/Woolies/Gerry would end up as showrooms for Amazon product.

  30. Old Brian

    So now we have to buy our kitchen rubbish bin liners instead of using the supermarket bags now supplied by Coles and Woolies. The no bags policy is one reason why I do not shop at Aldi.

  31. notaluvvie

    With all the virtue signalling (and profit motive going on) will councils and companies also ban:

    a. disposable coffee containers – make the latte drinkers take their own refillable containers to the shop rather than leave the disposable one time use containers on the ground when they are finished with them;

    b. polystyrene foam – it litters the highways and by-ways, will have to ban packing too;

    c. plastic drink containers – it’s amazing how many of those who, once refreshed with water or carbonated drinks (is that more nasty CO2 in the atmosphere killing pollie bears?), have to leave their plastic containers on the ground, especially it seems at soccer fields;

    d. energy drink and alcohol cans – once the contents are consumed they use gravity to find their resting spot on the ground and in the bush;

    e. plastic wrapping – from the backs of utes et al that no council ranger would ever inspect for a non-covered load;

    f. newspapers and advertising – not properly delivered to the letterboxes as they are supposed to be and fly around the burbs in the July and August breezes;

    g. smoking – the users of cancer sticks know the ground is there for their cigarette butts, will smoking be banned or is there too much revenue in that?;

    h. the eco-friendly shopping bags – have never bought one but have 40 or so in the house and cars due to picking them up, the new “plastic” bags.

    Nope, it’s just virtue signalling and profit motive for something which is handy and useful for many other application before it is recycling, eg holding paint brushes between coats, packing shoes in luggage, wet clothing. Perhaps that’s the real story, ie stores offer recycling for the plastic bags and perhaps they don’t like the expense of their civic stance. Too many being recycled and costing them too much to take away?

  32. Alexi the Conservative Russian

    Hmm. I might try the full trolley and then: “What no bags! Sorry I don’t want that unless I can have the bags”

    What a BGI, lets do it.

  33. Alexi the Conservative Russian

    Front up, pay up and shut up – the political and business ethos

  34. The result of yet another ecofraud. There never was an “Island of Plastic” in the Pacific. Just a lie to con the people.
    Also the result of not having jobs for arts graduates who end up working for NGOs.

    When you’re run by a bunch of fwuckwits, you end up with a fwucwit country. (anonymoose)

  35. Entropy

    Alexi the Conservative Russian
    #2441450, posted on July 15, 2017 at 9:33 am
    Hmm. I might try the full trolley and then: “What no bags! Sorry I don’t want that unless I can have the bags”

    What a BGI, lets do it.

    Exactly. Unload it all on the conveyor belt first.

  36. Sean

    In SA they just lug you 15c a bag for the ‘disposable’ plastic ones. It’s potentially a money maker for them.

  37. Tel

    b. polystyrene foam – it litters the highways and by-ways, will have to ban packing too;

    That’s already been happening, I notice more and more things packed in pressed cardboard (think about how egg cartons work) or else packed in folded cardboard (which guarantees you will never get in back into the original package).

  38. Bruce of Newcastle

    Back in 2008 the UK Labour Government commissioned a study into whether cloth bags were environmentally better than plastic shopping bags. It didn’t quite go as they planned it to.

    Why you need to use your ‘environmentally friendly’ cotton carrier bag 131 times to be green (2011)

    As a greater amount of energy goes into making a cloth carrier than a polythene one, a cotton bag has to be used 131 times before it has the same environmental impact than its plastic counterpart

    And if a plastic bag is re-used as a bin liner, a cotton bag has to be used 173 times – nearly every day of the year – before its ecological impact is as low as a plastic bag on a host of factors including greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

    The government sponsored research, ‘Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags’ by Dr Chris Edwards and Jonna Meyhoff Fry looked at the environmental impact of six different types of bags.

    Although completed in 2008, it has not yet been published, with plastic bag makers claiming the findings have been suppressed – although the Environment Agency said it is awaiting ‘peer review’ – checks by other scientists.

    Because it came up with the wrong answer they sat on it. Then after it was leaked to the Mail for the above story they gave in and released it (PDF here). But without coverage from the lefty MSM it has been forgotten.

    In practice the cloth bags will never environmentally match polyethylene bags because they won’t last long enough before falling apart from sheer wear and tear. And if you wash them you are blowing the energy balance right off the scale.

    So Coles and Woolies are imposing their own ban on the most environmentally appropriate option.

    If they really wanted to be environmentally virtuous they’d ban cloth bags and use biodegradable cornstarch plastic bags – which turtles and etc could digest.

    But Coles and Woolies won’t do that because they are hypocrites.

  39. Entropy

    The photos of the famous Island of Plastic in the Pacific does not consist of plastic shopping bags, which rapidly breakdown in the environment anyway.

    You can’t talk logic with these people though. My little graduate just parrots “turtles eat shopping bags” as a catechism of holy writ that to her signals the end of the discussion. Her mind is completely closed to anything that might interfere with her treasured view, no matter
    *plastic shopping bags are designed to rapidly break down.
    *more, hygienic than multi use
    *people just go buy commercial plastic bags for their garbage, storage, dog pooh, carry bags etc but no one worries about that
    *one multi use bag has the equivalent amount of plastic as hundreds of disposable bags, and nobody uses them as much as the equivalent number of times
    *those multiuse bags are a festival of bacteria and mould. A carnival of fungi.
    *washing multi use bags wrecks them fairly quickly.

  40. Bruce of Newcastle

    The other reason why this plastic bag ban is so evil is that cloth bags are festering swamps of bacteria.

    The Disgusting Consequences of Plastic-Bag Bans

    Most alarmingly, the industry has highlighted news reports linking reusable shopping bags to the spread of disease. Like this one, from the Los Angeles Times last May: “A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls’ soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday.” The norovirus may not have political clout, but evidently it, too, is rooting against plastic bags.

    Warning of disease may seem like an over-the-top scare tactic, but research suggests there’s more than anecdote behind this industry talking point. In a 2011 study, four researchers examined reusable bags in California and Arizona and found that 51 percent of them contained coliform bacteria. The problem appears to be the habits of the reusers. Seventy-five percent said they keep meat and vegetables in the same bag. When bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, the bacteria grew tenfold.

    That study also found, happily, that washing the bags eliminated 99.9 percent of the bacteria. It undercut even that good news, though, by finding that 97 percent of people reported that they never wash their bags.

    Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright, who are law professors at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, respectively, have done a more recent study on the public-health impact of plastic-bag bans. They find that emergency-room admissions related to E. coli infections increased in San Francisco after the ban. (Nearby counties did not show this increase.) And this effect showed up as soon as the ban was implemented. (“There is a clear discontinuity at the time of adoption.”) The San Francisco ban was also associated with increases in salmonella and other bacterial infections. Similar effects were found in other California towns that adopted such laws.

    Of course if you wash the bags you are using vast amounts of energy and water, with a huge environmental footprint. And if you don’t wash them you could be at risk of a serious illness.

    There are many many such reports for sake of a Google search, which Woolies and Coles seem not to have done.

    I hope the next person who gets infected sues Woolies’ and Coles’ arses off.

  41. JC

    Screw them up. Load up on a ton of groceries, go through the check out, but at the very end inform them you have no bags and walk out. Leave all the crap at the check out. If enough people do this to them they will go nuts

  42. Megan

    I’m planning on asking my local IGA if it is intending to go down this utterly stupid path and adjust my shopping habits accordingly. I refused to buy bags at Target and will take the same approach to Coles and Woolworths.

    Plus those woven green and blue woven bags they flog you are far more damaging to the environment long term. First of all…they are plastic, you idiots. Weaving them into a different form does not change their base composition. They are not long lasting as the stitching gives way first, they are impossible to clean if you spill something or food leaks into them making them unhygienic and they are not biodegradable. They will be a far worse environmental problem down the track and then we will have to listen to the very same environmental wowsers berating us for our selfish behaviour.

    Back to using my Granny’s lovely cane basket and string bag combo at the local market. If it won’t fit in and I can’t carry it to the car then I shall not be buying it from Coles, Woolies or Aldi.

  43. Tel

    In practice the cloth bags will never environmentally match polyethylene bags because they won’t last long enough before falling apart from sheer wear and tear. And if you wash them you are blowing the energy balance right off the scale.

    Very few of the alternative reusable bags are made from natural fibre. You do see some hessian bags and occasional cotton but the majority are Tyvek or a close equivalent. Hence they are just a heavier plastic bag. Aldi don’t even pretend to offer anything other than plastic bags, they just extract some money as a kind of “sin tax” and their bags are slightly heavier so you could wipe them clean and use them again if you wanted to (I doubt many people do). The Ikea blue bags are made similar to a plastic tarp with woven plastic fibres coated with a different type of plastic to seal it. Very strong, but still a plastic bag.

  44. EvilElvis

    This may yet prove to be Coles greatest marketing ploy ever! Woolies will hold firm to the green agenda, while Coles will rapidly backflip and up the ante in their ongoing ‘we are the biggest dipshit bogans in town’ themed advertising. Down, down, standards are down, as a plastic bag wrapped Casey Donovan gets down and dirty in a Coles aisle near you…

  45. Megan

    Screw them up. Load up on a ton of groceries, go through the check out, but at the very end inform them you have no bags and walk out. Leave all the crap at the check out. If enough people do this to them they will go nuts

    And how serious about it are they really? Oh, you have no bag? No problem, we have these lovely plastic bags we can sell you for 15 cents each.

    It would only need a concerted effort, as JC points out, from all those who object to the decision to have the supermarkets immediately reverse this idiocy. Especially if you make sure that at least half the trolley load was fresh meat, dairy and frozen stuff. The wastage as they are forced to ditch the fresh stuff would soon wake them up to reality.

    Come on Aussies. This is exactly the kind of thing we were once known for. But judging by the meek acceptance of the bag ban by Tasmanians and South Australians our culture of anti-authoritarianism is dead and buried.

  46. incoherent rambler

    My wild bet (my kitchen scales dont do fractions of gram) is that relatively speaking there are very carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules in Coles/Woolies plastic bag.
    There would be lots more carbon in a paper or hemp bag.
    Think of the CO2! Save the environment, use plastic bags!

  47. Tel

    That study also found, happily, that washing the bags eliminated 99.9 percent of the bacteria. It undercut even that good news, though, by finding that 97 percent of people reported that they never wash their bags.

    But constantly washing the bags consumes other resources like water, soap, electricity, and of course a lot of time wasted. I also agree with Megan the stitching is crap and generally the corners start to come undone after a few washes. Yes, I tried it once long ago when those things first came out in order to figure whether they were worth it or not. They aren’t.

  48. EvilElvis

    Exactly. Unload it all on the conveyor belt first.

    Nah, I’ll be doing my shop, loading it back in the trolley and towing that electronic braked basket back to my place with my car.

    Now that’s renusacycling, or whatever…

  49. Megan

    And both Woolworths and Coles claim that they are acting in response to requests from customers.

    What percentage of their overall customer base do they think are asking for this? The ones that are asking are most likely already bringing their own ‘I am an environmental warrior’ bags and waltzing through the checkouts radiating Smug. That leaves the rest of us who, according to the idiot CEO of Woolies, who use 3.2 billion bags a year. Seems like a lot of silent plastic bag supporters.

  50. Tel

    Nah, I’ll be doing my shop, loading it back in the trolley and towing that electronic braked basket back to my place with my car.

    That’s the Costco approach, they offer free cardboard boxes and you push the trolley out to the car, put a few cardboard boxes in the back of the car and then load all the items into those boxes. It’s workable, what I hate about Costco is they have hugely wide aisles and also they have the type of customers who setup their social groups bang in the middle of said wide aisles and manage to block everything and everyone. Also, about one in three customers knows how to drive a trolley properly and the other two are a menace. As a consequence, it’s an occasional visit at most for those things you cannot buy elsewhere (like real cinnamon for example).

  51. The BigBlueCat

    Mrs BigBlueCat made the same observation: if your customers are telling you to eliminate the bags, why do they take them in such massive quantities (collectively)? And also as observed, the bags help improve our domestic hygiene – we put garbage into those bags so that our trash is better consolidated and there is less risk of “escape” should the wind spring up or the local crows decide they want a cheap meal from our bin.

    I suspect they are bowing to pressure from elitist conservation groups who will claim they know better than the average consumer. The real answer lies in how people use the bags, not that the bags themselves are the problem. But never let the truth get in the way of a good story (if you’re an SJW).

  52. David C

    they made the annoucement at the Double Bay store, sums it all up really

  53. RobK

    So what happens at “click n collect” for a fast turn around?
    Plastic bags are useful to re-use for rubbish and more.

  54. candy

    I wonder what they will home deliver their groceries in. Many elderly/ill or people without transport use that service.
    Will they charge the pensioners for the “cloth” bags?

    Also plastic bags are most useful items in the house, for many many things, just carrying stuff around, storing certain things, cleaning up. What will people do without them?

  55. Crossie

    What next? That they will announce a maximum quantity of sugary drinks? Are Woolworths and Coles going to become the police to stop us enjoying ourselves?

    They already do that, every so often a product that I buy regularly just disappears from the shelves but are still available at IGA. It really irks me that I have to drive all over the town to buy what I want.

  56. Crossie

    they made the annoucement at the Double Bay store, sums it all up really

    … where the maid does the shopping so who cares what she thinks and how she gets the shopping home. Or even more likely – it’s delivered.

  57. Habib

    I’ll go out of my way to go to IGA, unless they go full retard. They must be punished for bending over to the miniscule number that is the perpetually outraged.

  58. Crossie

    I suspect they are bowing to pressure from elitist conservation groups who will claim they know better than the average consumer. The real answer lies in how people use the bags, not that the bags themselves are the problem. But never let the truth get in the way of a good story (if you’re an SJW).

    No outside pressure is necessary, their publicity departments are full of stupid, recently graduated staff who want to save the planet.

  59. areff

    For the more technically minded and those handy with a soldering iron, instructions here on how to build a device that will automatically lock every supermarket trolley equipped with an automated wheel lock. They have these on the Williamstown trolleys but not yet on the ones at Altona.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/EMP-shopping-cart-locker/

    Give us back our bags or the trolleys get it.

  60. candy

    Perhaps it might be best to stock up on bags, the cheap ones from Aldi, and just use them at Woolies and Coles.
    Or buy plastic bags with handles on ebay if possible?

    Aldi is good for some items but Coles and Woolies are pleasant to shop in, and have much more variety and you can find the cheap stuff and shop carefully. So I think get Aldi cheap plastic bags (not the “material” ones as they cost more), and just use them at Woolies and Coles. why not?

  61. Matt

    I like the idea of the supermarkets imposing a maximum number of sugary drinks. Saves the government from imposing a sugar tax! Great suggestion.

  62. mh

    A Coles/Woolworths ‘Marriage Equality’ campaign coming soon.

  63. Jo Smyth

    Walking around Woolworths and Coles on every shelf there is food and other goods surrounded by plastic. There are plastic bags to put fruit and veg in, all the tray food is in plastic, go to the deli and the food is put in plastic. It is impossible to stop seeing plastic. The bags are the least of the problem and for most people they serve an after purpose as they are used for bin liners, garden waste, dog poo etc. This is a mindless, useless attempt at green indoctrination and it will fail.

  64. Roger

    With the grocery market so tight Coles have really missed an opportunity to wedge W’worths & Aldi on plastic bags as a point of difference. Seems they value virtue signaling over market share & profit.

  65. L.B.Loveday

    The plastic bags are not banned – you now have to pay a token 15c(?) to buy them, and that seems fair to me.
    It’s what I did and continue to do after the failed Nanny-state SA legislated the end of free plastic bags. Not once have I brought my own bags or bought their “reusable” bags.

  66. Another old bloke

    Supermarket bags are made from high density polyethylene (HDPE). The bags they now want to SELL to you for 15c each are made from low density polyethylene (LDPE). Still plastic, but heavier. The “woven” bags they have been selling are made from polypropylene, heavier still.

    Of course, the heavier the bag, the higher the cost of manufacture and distribution. One HDPE bag weighs about 0.2 of a gram, LDPE bags about 2 grams, while the polypropylene bags weigh, from memory, about 30 grams. Fill a truck with LDPE or polypropylene bags and the extra costs for fuel, rubber and wear and tear are obvious.

    Then you’ll be expected to buy bin liners as well. Win-win for Woolworths and Coles. Lose-lose for their customers.

    Change.org is currently running a petition to urge Woolworths and Coles not to sell fruit and veg on polyurethane trays covered with shrink wrap. Don’t know how they plan to sell meat if polystyrene trays and shrink wrap are no-nos. Almost every name on the petition is female and many of them are in fact foreigners. And the virtue signalling and posturing are blatant. People like these are idiots (and I refer to the Stanford-Binet scale) but they are being used as cover for Woolworths and Coles to increase revenue and reduce overheads.

    Bjorn Lomborg’s the skeptical environmentalist, p. 208 points out that the entire landfill stream for the United States for the entire twentieth century would fit in a single landfill 28 kilometres square – and that’s for a population more than 10 times larger than ours. So landfill issues are overstated.

    Back in the 1990s the federal environment agency in Canberra commissioned a study of plastic bags. The consultant who did it plucked a number out of the air and claimed that billions of plastic shopping bags were blowing around the streets. In which case we’d be wading through them knee deep in areas of high population density. The fact that he was ex-Greenpeace didn’t help.

    Finally, the hygiene issues are very significant. As others have pointed out, the woven bags quickly become contaminated. I saw a woman with a polypropylene Woolworths bag on a train. The bag contained a cat. No doubt she did the “right” thing and reused the bag for shopping.

  67. areff

    ...useless attempt at green indoctrination and it will fail

    Sadly, you’re wrong. Perhaps because of our convict heritage, deference to mindless, incompetent authority is in our DNA.

    Hand over your guns …. grumble, grumble … well, here they are.

    Put that bike helmet on …. grumble, grumble … well, if you say so

    Don’t have a consensual workplace fling … grumble, grumble … Ok, I’m sorry. Humiliate me on the nation’s front pages.

    Australia would have been perfect if the First Fleet had been organised by the Italians (pay taxes? you’re-a joking) , the ships filled with Americans (First and second Amendments) and all the women were doe-eyed South American senoritas

  68. Goanna

    My cousin was challenged by a Woolworth’s employee for helping himself to the nuts in the fruit and vegetable section.

    He was straight onto the front foot – “that’s to get you back for all the lousy fruit you’ve sold me.”

  69. Roger

    Don’t know how they plan to sell meat if polystyrene trays and shrink wrap are no-nos.

    The way they did in the past and still do in the deli – have the meat displayed behind a glass cover and a butcher or assistant who wraps your selection in paper (made from sustainable tree plantations, of course!).

  70. areff

    The bag contained a cat.

    Chinese lady?

  71. Pedro the Ignorant

    Australians are very obedient people.

    This plastic bag ban will be accepted willingly, just like every other nanny state law, rule, regulation or order imposed by our betters for our own good.

    Bow down, peasants.

  72. Chris M

    Oh no that’s sad…. I always enjoy the free supermarket bags when I visit the eastern states. This nonsense is spreading.

    The difference is that in SA the Labor government – backed by the Liberals – forced this on the shop owners.

  73. D. A. W.

    As all have said, this stinks. The most obvious reason for this unified action is not, of course, the demands of customers, or the bottom line of supermarkets, it’s the Gonski deal with the Greens.

    Supermarket shopping, as the left has always been so keen to point out, is manipulative. It’s about controlling behaviour and getting us to do things in an unthinking way. This change will get us to think. If you only have five bags, you aren’t going to add extra to the trolley as you may do today because you can’t carry it home. If you are a young single professional and forget your bag, are you not just going to get takeaway instead of buying the ingredients from the supermarket. And yes, I think the comments about slowing down the checkout queues is probably true. It will be interesting to see the way analysts look at this; if it makes these businesses less profitable it will have an impact.

    So why on earth do it?

    I think the only rational reason is government pressure. The coalition negotiates with the Greens on Gonski, proposes a shopping bag ban, the coalition can’t deliver the legislation so the offer becomes pressure on the supermarkets from PMO. I think there’s no surprise Harris Farm is so quick to jump on board, the PMs own supermarket.

  74. Y

    Methinks Amazon has the potential to make a mess of cosy AU retail (on lots of fronts)

    Can’t wait. Amazon sells the same crap as everyone else. Where they have succeeded is in absolutely relentless and unstoppable devotion to customer service. About time Coles and Woolies copped the utter flogging they deserve.

  75. D. A. W.

    And just to add to my point.

    If it were a pure strategic decision, it would be nonsense from the supermarkets. IGA, which is on its knees, gets a free kick from the support of us plastic bag users, (IGA Lamonica in Haberfield) just as Amazon is going to enter the market. Furthermore, it helps convenience store owners enormously. Small purchases become that much more easy to justify at corner stores.

    I don’t believe the big supermarkets are dumb. I think they have been given a very clear heads up to do this or else. I also think the six month period before the ban starts is strategically intelligent; hope the backlash is enough to justify going back on the ban. This would see the true force behind the ban exposed.

  76. Muddy

    Women-only and indigenous-only checkouts are next.

  77. Muddy

    Sorry Sinc. Obviously the ‘b’ on my keyboard is dodgy.

  78. procrustes

    It’s not all despair – good news coming from the United States is that many such bans are being reversed.

    See here at Reason and see here for sample legislation in North Carolina

  79. Another old bloke

    Chinese lady?

    No, just bogan.

    The way they did in the past and still do in the deli – have the meat displayed behind a glass cover and a butcher or assistant who wraps your selection in paper (made from sustainable tree plantations, of course!).

    The costs would go through the roof. Supermarkets are not set up for one on one butcher service. That’s why the butchering is done out of sight.

    Abattoirs deliver boxed cuts to the big chain supermarkets, where they are prepared and packed for retail display. The entire point of supermarket operations is customer self-service to bring down staffing costs. Butchering to a customer’s demand is slow and expensive and in large, busy supermarkets the queues would be out the door.

    Insofar as it is done in supermarket delis, it’s a simple scoop of olives from a tray, a wedge of cheese cut, or something similar and quick.

  80. Oh come on

    Give us back our bags or the trolleys get it.

    Crikey areff, you’ll have the CEOs of Coles and Woolies on the phone to the AFP, making threatening threats like that!

  81. Bh

    Those 15c bags they are now going to sell us instead – can we return them and get our 15c back if they tear?

  82. I’m guessing the environazis threatened Coles and Woolworths that if they didn’t comply, they would be targeted. When Coles and Woolworths defended themselves by invoking competition, the environazis suggested they announce and implement at the same time thus avoiding the competition issue.
    Collusion yes, but also conspiracy.

  83. I’ll believe Coles/Woolworths give a farq about “plastic” when they cease wrapping every-bluddee-thing-you-see either in plastic over a foam tray or inside a sealed plastic bag.

    The weak bastards should have challenged the environazis to “bring it on”.

    But when did Corporate Australia last stand up to anybody?

  84. Walter Plinge

    Aldi will be pleased. Now there’s one less reason not to shop at Aldi, where the “Aldi system” on checkouts may have alienated some shoppers. With Lidl on the prowl for sites this could be an own-goal for Colesworth.

  85. alexnoaholdmate

    Give us back our bags or the trolleys get it.

    Well, if that’s not a threat of violence – requiring immediate security measures and an investigation by the Federal Police – then I don’t know what is.

    Areff, haven’t you learned anything from what happened to that Roger Franklin guy over at Quadrant?

  86. Squirrel

    “So implement a cost cutting measure and say that you are both environmentally friendly and acting in response to customer demand.”

    A bit like banks expanding their interest rate margins under the pretext of discouraging risky property speculation.

  87. classical_hero

    That petition should be signed by everyone who want to make them pay. If they want to lie with the dogs then they will get fleas. They have to get rid of every single bit of plastic being sold in their stores, no ifs, or buts.

  88. Bob in Castlemaine

    A very efficient way to control population levels. Guaranteed to reintroduce the black death and all manner of other efficient Green approved methods of limiting the the human vermin. Gaia approved!

  89. a reader

    It’s the eternal pain in the arse of working in South Australia. Going home to the Eastern States has always been a pleasure in supermarkets because you can just go and get what you think. In hygienic plastic.

  90. JohnA

    I will ignore the ban and expect the bag system to continue because the ban only applies to “single-use bags” and I never ever use the bag only once.

  91. I’ll make them pay, alright.

    I’ll demand a refund for every bag that has a hole in it. I’ll also make a big deal about any resistance to providing bags. And for the killer blow, the amazing coincidence of announcing on the very same day as their biggest rival will be casually thrown out there for anyone who disapproves.

  92. The Fifth Bike Rider of the Apocalypse

    The decision by Coles and Woolworths to replace the free so called single use plastic bags with ‘more durable, re-usable plastic bags’ at a cost of 15 cents each (which they’ll no doubt donate to charity) got me thinking: how can one really p*ss them off as a protest.
    The answer is to load up your trolley and the checkout with a couple of weeks’ worth of shopping and when told by the checkout chick that you’d have to buy several new bags to accommodate your shopping, simply say ‘F*ck that’ and walk off.

  93. Justin

    Other than refusing to scan for bags (or product of equal value) I am not sure how we can make them pay.

    While this might like sound like a call to theft I take my inspiration from the Trade Union movement that defiance of an unjust law is not only right and proper, it is a triumph of social justice (think of the poor that cannot afford heat and now cannot afford bags), and a victory for democracy.

    So rise up Australia. Vote with your five finger discount!!

    And in the process extend the middle one to corporate authoritarianism!

  94. .

    I really don’t know why they don’t go for strong paper bags and just average out the cost to all items. At scale, they’d be very cheap anyway and everyone would win. Customers will like their bags with 3L milk etc not falling apart…

  95. Stimpson J. Cat

    The wamen of Australia should be very concerned at the moment.
    We have the two biggest grocery retailers in the country basically stating that within their stores there is no place for old bags.

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