Monday, 17 April 2023: Woolworths stores in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania  have begun to phase out their 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags as part of the retailer’s commitment to stop selling the bags nationwide from June. 

Over the coming weeks, the supermarket will gradually run down stock of the 15-cent reusable plastic shopping bags across New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, in a move that will see more than 9,000 tonnes of plastic removed from circulation annually across the country. 

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 has already removed these bags from stores across ACT, NT, SA, QLD and WA over the last 12 months, with customers responding well to the change.

Woolworths Supermarkets Director of Stores, Jeanette Fenske, said: “We’re excited to have Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania complete our national journey to remove the 15-cent plastic shopping bag from all our stores nationwide. 

“Having reusable bags on hand has become second nature for many shoppers, and so far we have seen our customers embrace this change with their usual eagerness to do good for the environment.

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

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

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

The paper shopping bag that will continue to be 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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