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Major grocery chain shoppers are furious as it begins selling a $15 paper bag after plastic ban

Jun 01, 2023Jun 01, 2023

THE introduction of a reusable bag at a popular grocery chain has caused an uproar among shoppers.

Customers who frequent Australian retail giant Coles took to social media to issue their frustration over a $15 (USD 10.14) reusable paper bag now being sold at store locations.

Coles supermarket made the decision earlier this year to end the sale of its 15cent (USD 10cent) plastic bags at the end of June, per 7 News.

“This month, we phased out all soft plastic shopping bags in-store and online, which will remove 230 million plastic bags from circulation in one year," a spokesperson for the retailer told the outlet.

Reusable paper bags were put in place to offer customers a different environmentally friendly option for carrying their groceries.

"This is part of our commitment to reduce unnecessary plastic,” the spokesperson continued.

The bags are supposedly "washable" and "leather-like," with a long lifespan that can hold about 20 kilograms.

Although some customers feel the features aren't reason enough for the bags to cost them $15.

"Fifteen dollars for a paper bag??? That’s a hard no from me,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“You have no shame.”

However, Coles defended the bag's price point, and the spokesperson argued that the features justify the cost.

"Our washable paper bag, made from FSC-certified paper, has recently launched in-store as another option for customers to use when shopping," they said to 7 News.

“The $15 price is based on a number of factors, including the materials used and its ability to be machine washable."

They added: “The leather-like washable paper bag also has a longer life span compared to soft plastic and paper bags and can carry up to 20kgs."

Moreover, the spokesperson said that customers at Coles can still purchase recycled paper bags for 25cents (USD 17cents) whenever they shop.

Coles supermarket also offers tote bags for $1 and chilled shopping bags to keep items cool for $2.50.

“We also continue to offer our customers 100 percent recycled paper bags for 25 cents, a range of reusable tote bags that retail from $1 and chiller bags which are $2.50 each," the spokesperson said.

The Australian grocery chain isn't the only supermarket making bagging changes to protect the environment.

As The U.S. Sun previously reported, grocery chain Giant Eagle announced at the beginning of July that its customers in Erie, New York, would no longer be charging customers five cents for a recycled paper bag.

It would instead implement reusable bags, similar to Coles' decision.

“We believe that rewarding our customers who choose to shop with reusable bags is the best way to support cleaner communities,” said Giant Eagle Director of Sustainability, Cara Mercil, in a statement, as reported by Erie News Now.

“Our Erie area customers have stepped up in a big way, meaningfully contributing to the 1.8million pounds of plastic Giant Eagle has prevented from littering rivers and green spaces across its regions over the past 12 months.”

Contrary to Coles, Giant Eagle offered customers reusable bags for free from July 13 to 19 as a method to quickly implement the process.

Last year, the company phased out single-use plastic bags at all of its Erie stores as well.

For more related content, check out The U.S. Sun's coverage of Target and Walmart's surcharges added after bans on plastic bags.

The U.S. Sun also has the story on the at least nine states that have implemented bans on plastic bags thus far.