Yesterday afternoon, apropos of nothing, my five year old daughter piped up from the backseat with this. “Mummy, that’s why I choose Woollies”.
Someone’s little ears have obviously been picking up on the supermarket’s marketing jingle. She even put the emphasis on the “I” in the same way the actors in the ads do.
Sadly for Woolworths given her limited disposable income her early expression of loyalty is unlikely to translate into grocery spend for some years.
But, upon waking to the news today that its competitor Coles has bowed to public criticism and ditched the ban on plastic bags, Woolworths has the jump on our household grocery budget.
Why will I choose Woollies? Because they’re sticking to a positive change that is achievable and necessary to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic bags.
Last year Coles and Woolworth agreed to phase out single use plastics bags by the 1st of July this year. For context Woolworths had been giving out an estimated 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags annually.
In making the switch both supermarkets introduced thicker reusable plastic bags, which were initially priced at 15 cents each. Coles has today said it will continue handing out the thicker plastic bags for free in its stores indefinitely saying shoppers “need more time to make the transition to reusable bags”.
Environmentalists says because the thicker bags take longer to break down they can actually cause more damage than the thinner, single use bags.
“Removing the price means that these reusable bags are far more likely to be used once and discarded,” Australia Pacific Green Peace campaigner Zoe Deans told the ABC. “This decision makes a complete mockery of Coles’ claim to want to reduce plastic waste and is a betrayal of the millions of their customers who want the supermarket to do the right thing in favour of a vocal minority.”
The ban has – quite inexplicably – caused something of a furore despite the fact similar bans have been successfully been implemented in various locations around the world, including South Australia, without fuss.
When Woolworths polled 12,500 customers about the single-use plastic bag ban in May almost 75 per cent supported the transition while less than 15 per cent were opposed to it.
How demoralising to consider that the 15 percent opposed to change get the power. The rest of us can vote with our wallets: Whether it’s Woollies, Aldi, Harris Farm, your local IGA, farmers markets: put your money where there is goodwill to make positive change.