Plastic bag ban a start, not a solution

Woolworths has officially banned single-use plastic bags in all stores across NSW, but the public believe the supermarket giant still has some way to go.

The move, which aims to encourage environmental sustainability, is restricted to its checkout bags, and does not include fruit and vegetable packaging.

NSW is one of the last states in Australia to ban the use of plastic bags. From today (Wednesday, June 20) customers need to bring their own bags or purchase canvas bags for 99 cents, or thicker reusable bags for 15 cents.

“It’s a commitment we made to help reduce our impact on the environment and will see the removal of more than 3.2 billion single-use plastic bags from circulation every year,” Woolworths has claimed.

Australians are estimated to use just over 13 million new bags every day, according to, and have joined America, Brazil, China and India (listed in the Top 20 Countries Ranked by Mass of Mismanaged Plastic Waste) in the partial banning of plastic bags.

Australian retailers found to be supplying the banned bags face a $6,300 fine, according to the ABC, a light consequence compared to Cameroon, South Africa, and Kenya where the use of plastic may result in jail time.

There has been a mixed response from the general public. See: What do Sydney shoppers think?

Coles will bring in the ban on July 1 and, by the end of 2018, Woolworths plan to stop selling plastic straws.

Story and photos by Diana Hills, Zoe Delaney Grech and Kate Buxton