Coles ends free bags after banning single-use plastic bags in July
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Coles ends free bags after banning single-use plastic bags in July

After banning single-use plastic bags last month, then deciding to give away thicker, "reusable" bags indefinitely, Coles will today begin charging customers for the 15¢ bags.

Coles and rival supermarket Woolworths removed single-use plastic bags from their checkouts around the country in June and July.

Both supermarkets said they would offer their thicker 15¢ bags free to customers for a limited time, as shoppers got used to bringing their own bag.

From today, Coles will charge 15c for their reusable plastic bags.

From today, Coles will charge 15c for their reusable plastic bags.

However, at the start of August, Coles said it would offer the resuable bags indefinitely.

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“When Coles phased out single-use plastic bags on 1 July ... some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags," a Coles spokeswoman said at the time.

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Just a day later, following fierce backlash, the supermarket announced its bag giveaway would end on August 29.

The free bag offer ends the same day the Little Shopper promotion ended - a promotion criticised by environmentalists for the amount of plastic in the packaging and toys, but so popular that rival Wooloworths attributed a slow-down in its sales to the toy giveaway as well as its own bag ban.

The supermarket giants' ban on single-use bags came as more states banned single-use plastic bags.

Single-use plastic bags are already banned in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Victoria plans to ban them by the end of 2019,  leaving NSW as the only state without a plan to phase them out.

With Patrick Hatch

Rachel Clun is a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald. She was previously a reporter with the Brisbane Times and Domain.

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