REDUCE, REUSE: Only 16 per cent of store transactions at Woolworths now include the purchase of a reusable bag.
REDUCE, REUSE: Only 16 per cent of store transactions at Woolworths now include the purchase of a reusable bag.

How reusing bags reduced plastic waste by 4700 tonnes

IT HAS been one year since Woolworths customers embraced the phase-out of single-use plastic bags, and the supermarket chain says it has saved tonnes of plastic from ending up in landfill and waterways.

Woolworths statics reveal shoppers have established new shopping habits as now only 16 per cent of store transactions include the purchase of a reusable bag.

The company has distributed three billion fewer plastic bags since the phase-out, which it states equates to a 4700 tonne reduction in plastic waste.

Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said he recognised change was never easy.

"Yet one year after we phased out single-use plastic bags, it's clear Australians have formed new habits and embraced a vastly more sustainable way of shopping with reusable bags,” Mr Banducci said.

"We're incredibly grateful to our customers for coming on this journey with us to help clean up Australia's waterways for the benefit of local communities and marine life.

"We also understand there is a lot more we can do to help create a truly circular economy, and fully support the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation's 2025 National Packaging Targets.”

Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish said the supermarket giant was going to great lengths to protect the environment.

"Plastic pollution is a real issue for groups who are involved in clean-up projects, however, billions of plastic bags have been taken out of the system by Woolworths and its customers, which is having a positive impact on our waterways and our coasts,” Dr Norrish said.

"Together we are making a difference. We need to continue driving progress by engaging the entire community and inspire Australians to be aware, empowered and active in caring for the environment.”

Planet Ark deputy CEO Rebecca Gilling said it was always better to reuse, and she was glad people had made the switch this past year.

"We hope that over time we'll see an even greater reduction in the number of reusable bags sold at checkouts as shoppers really embed the habit of bringing their reusable bags with them,” she said.

"In the meantime, fewer single-use bags will end up as litter or in our oceans, where they cause serious harm to marine life.”