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Woolworths phase out plastic bags ahead of WA ban

Woolworths will be the first major supermarket to be phasing out its 15 cent plastic shopping bags in Western Australia ahead of the new state legislation ban of plastic bags from July this year.

Over the coming weeks, stores across the state will gradually run-down stock of the supermarket’s reusable plastic bags from its stores and online orders with Australian-made shopping bags set to become the entry option for customers.

This change will see more than 30 million plastic bags removed from circulation in WA every year, Woolworths state general manager for WA, Karl Weber said.

“We know the change by this new WA legislation may be an adjustment for some customers, and we thank them in advance for their support as we all work together to grow greener,” Weber said.

Woolworths was the first national supermarket to remove single-use plastic shopping bags in 2018, introducing its 15 cent reusable plastic bags, followed by a paper shopping bag to the Woolworths range in 2020.

Woolworths invested in a multi-million dollar partnership with family-owned Australian manufacturer, Detpak, to increase local paper bag manufacturing capacity.

The paper bag is designed to be reused and carry up to 6kg of groceries. All paper used is sourced responsibly and is certified by PEFC to give customers confidence their purchase supports sustainable forest management.

“While our paper bags will continue to be available, the most sustainable bag you can use is the reusable one you bring from home,” Weber said.

“The vast majority of our customers already bring their reusable bags to shop, which is the best outcome for the environment, and we encourage customers to keep up the great work.”

The partnership represents a significant boost in local manufacturing, creating 25 total new Australian jobs and contributing to broader efforts to grow Australia’s local production capacity across industries.

They worked to increase local production of paper bags to provide the additional volume required by plastic shopping bags removal in WA.

WA has a strong track record on reducing single-use plastics in the environment and was named the top jurisdiction in the country two years in a row by WWF Australia, minister for Environment, Reece Whitby said.

“The WA community has shown overwhelming support for this – and I would like to thank everyone, including Woolworths, who have embraced these important changes,” Whitby said.

Woolworths will be communicating to Western Australian customers through in-store signage and radio, catalogue, customer emails and print advertising to raise awareness of the change.

Customers can choose from three carry bag options in-store – its 20 cent Australian-made paper bag, which uses 70 per cent recycled paper, Woolworths Bag for Good and foldable fabric bags.

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