Coles Plastic Bag Ban Back-flip

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When Coles originally announced its ban on single-use plastic bags it said it would provide its reusable and thicker "Better Bags" for free until July 8 to help customers adjust.

"I'm a 30-year customer at Eastgate in Bondi Junction", wrote one.

Coles, which had initially planned to reintroduce the fee on July 12, never levied it and has now extended the waiver indefinitely.

Customers at Woolworths will continue to pay 15 cents for plastic bags.

Australian supermarket chain Coles has abandoned plans for a plastic-bag ban because shopper kept forgetting to bring their reusable bags.

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Coles and rival Woolworths dominate Australia's grocery market.

Coles has done a double backflip on its free plastic bags with the supermarket saying customers will start paying for the bags after August 29.

A mere 24 hours after announcing that it would continue to 0ffer free plastic bags to customers indefinitely, Coles has backflipped on this providing a cut-off date for the complimentary bags.

The waiver was "still meant to be an interim measure", Coles said, but gave no date for the resumption of the fee, saying only it will "assess when customers have become accustomed to bringing their own bags".

With threats of a shopping boycott by environmentally minded shoppers, Coles announced on Thursday that customers would start paying for bags on August 29.

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The retail boss sent an all-staff email empathising with his team that the change from single-use plastic bags "has been a big and hard change for many of our customers".

"Coles have caved in far too quickly to a small but vocal minority and there is absolutely no doubt Coles will be punished for this decision by customers who don't want to see plastic bags littering their beaches and killing marine life", Greenpeace Australia Pacific campaigner Zoe Deans said.

"Hey Coles, I won't be shopping at Coles until you stop this plastic bag nonsense", she tweeted.

From July 1, Queensland and Western Australia joined South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory with state-wide bans. "We also call on the board of Coles to reconsider this decision for the sake of our planet", co-CEO Angus Harris said.

"Working with their teams in the lead up to the campaign to replace single use bags, we were inspired by and supported Coles' nationwide desire to replace single use plastics". The only good part of this was the 15c charge, which would change people's behaviour over time.

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