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SPAR Maclean owner Bob Little and store manager Tina Ross promote their array of collapsible crates and reusable bags. Images: Lynne Mowbray

Single-use plastic bags check out

Lynne Mowbray |

Supermarkets around NSW are gearing up for a massive change, as single-use plastic bags disappear from our checkouts, as from July 1.

Woolworth’s supermarkets will implement the change as from June 20, with Coles and SPAR following suit on from July 1.

Manager of Coles Yamba Shane Edie said that the change is a good thing for the environment and well overdue.

“Initially it will probably be a bit of a culture shock remembering to bring your bags in from your car, but once we get used to it I think it will just become the norm,” he said.
“The fruit and veggie section and the deli will continue to use the thin plastic bags, due to food safety concerns.
“The new Click & Collect service, will have two options available. You can choose to have no bags and we will happily load the items one by one into your bags or boxes in the customers car or option two would be to purchase our cheapest bag that we offer, which is 15-cents a bag.
“The cheap Coles Better Bag which is made from 80 per cent recycled plastic, is quite strong and more durable than the present single-use plastic bags.
“We have a whole range of environmental or reusable bags available for sale at different prices and the money from a lot of them will go to partner charities.
“Local lady Gina Lopez has four display stands within Yamba Fair, of eco, re-cycled paper bags, displaying advertising of local business, organisations and groups which sell for fifty-cents, to give people a paper option,” he said.

Mr Edie said that the staff has been trained to assist and advise customers on using bags that are too big and will be too heavy to lift, as well as using bags that are unhygienic or unsafe to use.

For some time now, Bob Little from SPAR Maclean has been encouraging customers to use ‘green’ bags’ with an incentive for those using the bags, to put their receipts into a box, for a chance to win one of two $20 vouchers, drawn each week in store. This promotion will no longer run, as single-use plastic bags are no longer in use.

Mr Little said that SPAR Maclean’s loyal customers will receive a free green bag each time they reach 1000 points in store, along with their $15 in store free voucher.
“Anyone can join, they just need to ask one of the girls at the check out for a free customer loyalty card,” Mr Little said.
“We will continue to use the small plastic bags in the fruit and veggie and deli sections, as part of a health and safety issue.
“We have several options available for customers to carry their shopping. We’ve got collapsible crates which will be good for the customer who doesn’t want any other type of bag. They can bring their crates in and it’s virtually like a cardboard box, which basically lasts forever. They stack flat, which makes them very practical to bring into the shop.
“We still have plastic bags at the checkout which are not compostable but are designed to be used over and over again and they’re fifteen cents each. In the initial stages, there will probably be a lot of them go through the shop and then as people have their bags they won’t need them as much.
“We still have the green bags which are now in a variety of other colours as well, which are washable and squash right down and they’re nice and easy to take with you.
“We’ve given our customers plenty of notice about the changes and we’re already getting a lot of people who are starting to get into the system now [of bringing in their bags].
“It’s a nationwide decision by SPAR and every store will be implementing it,” Mr Little said.


Catrina Clarke with one of the Coles Better Bags which will be available at the checkouts for fifteen cents per bag. Images: Lynne Mowbray.