Tuesday, 30 May 2023:  In the lead up to World Environment Day on June 5, BIG W has announced that its stores across Australia are phasing out soft reusable plastic shopping bags as part of the retailer’s commitment to make a positive change for the planet. 

Over the coming weeks, BIG W will run down stock of  15-cent and larger 45-cent reusable plastic shopping bags in stores nationwide, in a move to remove over 480 tonnes of plastic from circulation annually. 

The retailer has already removed these bags from stores across Western Australia and customers have responded well to the change. With many BIG W shoppers already in the habit of bringing their own bags when they shop, the retailer is continuing to encourage customers to use their own bags to reduce the environmental impact, rather than buying them in store. BIG W paper bags and reusable bag options will be available to those who need them.

BIG W, as part of Woolworths Group, also follows in the footsteps of Woolworths Supermarkets, following the national phased removal of the supermarket’s 15-cent plastic bags earlier this year. 

Dan Hake, Managing Director BIG W said: “At BIG W, we believe every small change can make a big difference and this is an exciting  next step in our sustainability journey. Saying goodbye to plastic shopping bags will remove over 480 tonnes of plastic out of circulation annually, helping to create a better tomorrow for future generations.

“Since we stopped giving away single-use plastic bags in 2018, we’ve seen an incredible effort from our customers to change the way they shop for the better by bringing their own bags. We’d like to thank them for doing their bit for the environment and we’re looking forward to continuing to work together towards a more sustainable future.” 

BIG W removed single-use plastic bags from stores in 2018, introducing reusable plastic shopping bag options to help customers transition to the change to less plastic.  With customers now looking for even more sustainable ways to shop, BIG W will help prepare Aussie shoppers for the upcoming change, providing advanced notice and signs in store. 

A paper shopping bag will  be available for purchase to customers that is designed to be reused, as well as being easily recycled at home through kerbside recycling. The bags are made from  100% recycled paper, independently certified to FSC standards.  The retailer will also offer a wide range of reusable bag options available for purchase in store, including a new 99-cent reusable bag which is made from at least 70% recycled content

BIG W has made the following progress towards the retailers’ sustainability goals over the past 2 years: 

  • Nationally launched a market first Toys for Joy program providing  solutions for families who have outgrown old toys. Toys can be recycled for free by dropping them in the bins at any one of BIG W’s 177 stores. Since October 2021, an estimated 130 tonnes of used toys have been collected, saving them from landfill.

  • Household battery and mobile phone recycling units have been added to all 177 BIG W stores, with over 531,000 batteries collected for recycling since the bins were introduced in October 2022

  • Since 2021, BIG W has reduced the use of plastic packaging from more than 350 products. This has resulted in over 50 tonnes of plastic being removed from product packaging including in bedding, domestic appliances and Christmas decorations.

  • Introduced a trial of recycled plastic trolleys and baskets across a number of stores including Lismore, Port Macquarie and Town Hall.

  • BIG W has removed glitter from all its Own Brand Christmas items, including decorations, wrapping, cards and all the trimmings. 

  • Worked towards zero waste with charity partner, Good360 Australia, partnering to donate unsold or surplus goods, reducing landfill significantly. Since 2018, that means more than 9 million new items have been given to communities in need.


For more information, please contact Woolworths Group Media at media@woolworths.com.au or (02) 8885 1033.