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Wednesday, 15 February 2023: Woolworths stores in Queensland have begun to voluntarily phase out their 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags as part of the retailer’s commitment to stop selling the bags nationwide. The change will also simultaneously take place in the Australian Capital Territory.

Over the coming weeks, the supermarket will gradually run down stock of the 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags across stores in Queensland, in a move that will see more than 1,500 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation annually across the state. The bags were previously phased out in South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia last year.

Eight in every ten Woolworths customers already bring their own bags when they shop, and the retailer is continuing to encourage customers to bring their own bags to boost sustainability, rather than buying them in store. Woolworths’ paper bags and other reusable bags will remain available to those who need them.

Woolworths was the first major national supermarket to remove single-use plastic bags from stores in 2018, introducing the 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bag to help customers adjust to the change. With shopping habits evolving significantly since, the reusable plastic bags have now played their part.

Woolworths State General Manager for Queensland, Danny Baldwin, said: “We’re continuing to grow greener in Queensland as we phase out the 15-cent plastic shopping bags from our stores.

“We’re proud to be the first major supermarket to commit to removing plastic shopping bags from our stores nationwide, and this change is an important step towards more sustainable grocery shopping for Queenslanders.

“Bringing your own bags is the very best outcome for the environment, and we encourage our customers to keep up the great work. Paper bags will continue to be available for those who forget to bring their own - but ultimately we want to sell less bags altogether.

“We know it may be an adjustment for some customers and we thank them in advance for their support as we all work together to create a better tomorrow.”

Woolworths is helping customers to prepare for the upcoming change in Queensland, providing advanced notice and reminders via email and signs in store. Woolworths already offers customers helpful reminders to bring their own bags, including signs in supermarket car parks.

Following the gradual phase out of this bag in Queensland and ACT stores, Woolworths will continue its transition away from the 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags, committing to remove the bags entirely from all stores nationwide by the end of June this year.  In Queensland, the same bags will be removed as an option for online orders later this year, with paper bags becoming the new default option. 

The paper shopping bag that will remain available to customers is designed to be reused, can carry up to 6kg of groceries and can be easily recycled at home through kerbside recycling. The paper bags are made from at least 70 per cent recycled paper and sourced responsibly with FSC or PEFC certifications to support sustainable forest management. 

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