Plastic bag free countdown starts

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Single-use plastic bags have become a huge problem for Australia’s oceans and waterways. File picture

CUSTOMERS shopping in Butler and Yanchep supermarkets will notice in-store reminders to bring their own reusable bags as Woolworths prepares to go single-use plastic bag free nationally from June 20.

Across Australia this is expected to remove 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags from circulation each year.

Woolworths Butler and Woolworths Yanchep group manager Daniel Gerritsen said Woolworths was committed to listening to its customers and also doing the right thing for the environment.

“We are proud to be able to help create a greener future for Australia with our customers by removing single-use plastic bags from our store from June 20,’’ he said.

“We appreciate that it will be a big change for our customers and will do what we can to support them through the transition to make it as smooth and simple as possible.”

In the lead up to June 20, there will be increased signage in-store and at checkouts reminding customers about the date change.

Mr Gerritsen said customers would have the option to bring in their own bags or would have access to buy a range of reusable bag options starting from 15 cents.

Planet Ark chief executive officer Paul Klymenko said Woolworths’ move would have a positive effect on the environment and he was confident the community would embrace it.

“Single-use plastic bags have become a huge problem for Australia’s oceans and waterways where they cause significant harm to marine life, such as turtles and whales,’’ he said.

“They also don’t breakdown in landfill and require significant resources to manufacture in the first place.

Experience in countries like the UK and Ireland shows that the introduction of small charges on plastic bags can end up reducing plastic bag usage by up to 85 percent as shoppers embrace reusable alternatives.’’

“This is a real win for the environment.”