Coles under fire over plastic bag backflip

Coles Says It’ll Hand Out Reusable Bags For Free ‘Cos Shoppers Can’t Cope

"I appreciate this transition phase is taking longer than anticipated but it is absolutely the right thing to do by our customers", Mr Durkan said.

Australia is among places grappling with bans, but it has struck teething pains amid what many have likened to "tantrums" by change-averse customers.

The move sparked a major backlash from environmental groups, social media users and even other retailers.

"10 million plastic bags end up in NSW in the environment every year... we need to start the change somewhere", Dee explained before being interrupted yet again by Steve.

Over 3000 people have signed the petition as of this morning.

What's surprised many observers is the resistance Coles and Woolworths have experienced given that rival upstart Aldi has always charged its customers for heavy-duty reusable plastic bags.

It drew a furious response, dubbed "bag rage", as customers angry about having to bring their own sacks or pay 15 Australian cents (11 USA cents) for a reusable plastic bag abused checkout staff and vented on social media.

Customers will continue to received 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout as a reward for remembering to bring their own bags.

"... we know that many customers are still finding themselves a bag or two short at the register and we want to do the right thing by them during this transition period".

"We will continue to listen to our customers and our team members on an ongoing basis to assess when customers have become accustomed to bringing their own bags, and will provide them with as much notice as possible", the spokesperson said.

Coles' backdown infuriated environmental lobby group Greenpeace, which said the supermarket's decision was bad for the planet.

"Removing the price means that these reusable bags are far more likely to be used once and discarded".

Harris Farms CEO Angus Harris urged Woolworths and Coles to maintain their ban noting he understood how hard phasing out bags had been for his company.

How's this for a spectacular double backflip: after announcing yesterday that it would continue to give away free plastic bags indefinitely following customer complaints, supermarket giant Coles has now hastily clarified that actually, it'll be stopping this on August 29.

"It's interesting because the ban on single-use bags came as a result of pressure from customers and people calling for companies to take responsibility and stop using plastic bags".

Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel told the Herald Sun the Coles' latest decision was a "weak act".

Another, John Wren, said: "Dear @Coles, I will be shopping exclusively at @woolworths & @ALDIAustralia until you enforce your plastic-bags ban".

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