Woolworths phasing out disposable plastic bags

Shoppers will have to buy reusable bags or bring their own.

Woolworths will phase out single-use plastic bags from its supermarkets within the next 12 months.

Disposable plastic bags will be banned from Woolworths supermarkets across Australia, as well as Big W and BWS, by 30 June 2018.

The decision was made in an effort to reduce the overall use of plastic bags, says Brad Banducci, the chief executive of Woolworths Group. "Today's commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously," he says.

Shoppers will either have to use their own reusable bag, or purchase thicker variants "at different price points".

Reports suggest reusable bags will be available at 15 cents each – a price comparable to that of budget supermarket chain Aldi.

Banducci says that 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags are given out to customers each year.

Woolworths Group will only need to phase out single-use plastic bags in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia to stop using them nationally. Statewide bans are already in place in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, with Queensland set to follow suit next year.

"Whilst we know this is a major decision, we will work very closely with all of our store teams to ensure the transition for our customers is as simple as possible," says Banducci.