CHOICE membership

Plastic packaging & plastic bags



Yes…but they also have a finite life. The ones I have seen being sold by a number of different retailers would have a limited life expectancy, and far less than that required to offset the resources used to manufacture the thicker bags (where there have been reports up to about 200 uses to then be ahead of single use bags).

If one is concerned about the government policy of allowing retailers to use thicker potentially less environmentally friendly thicker ‘multi-use’ plastic bags, one still has the choice to purchase quality cloth bags (preferably cotton or hemp) for a few dollars and which will last for many years. Our own oldest calico cloth bags are over 10 years old…noting some have had minor repairs to maintain their usability.

It is worth that using a bag twice before disposal, still qualifies for the multi-use term bandied about.

It would be better if the legislation defined multi-use was defined as having a life expectancy of say 50 uses (which would correspond to a year uuse based on a weekly shop). This would remove the thicker bags as currently supplied as a option as they would not meet the multi-use definition.


was more than symbolism at its heart.


Sometimes I feel that governments are more about leaving some sort of cobbled together legacy (they can use for election campaigning) rather than implementing good policy for long term betterment of the country as a whole. This is possibly another example that fits into this category.


Are too many of us too fashion conscious and keen to stay on trend?

Where are the tied net like string bags. Natural fibre or synthetics that seemed to last forever?

Have I forgotten no one wants to have all their shopping contents on show as we push the trolley to the car :red_car:?

Or is it that you’re there is no room for retail logos? And all those chocolate bars will be the first to poke thru.


Coles will give away reusable bags indefinitely so now instead of thin bags polluting the environment we will have thick ones. Whatever happened to encouraging re-use?


A perfectly acceptable outcome for Coles and many of their customers. There is no limit to stupidity.

Did the brains trust who created the legislation make a mistake in allowing reusable bags to be made from materials that are not readily recycled or environmentally sustainable? Did they have some help from the major retailers affected?

I should declare there is a conflict of interest here? We don’t shop at Coles.


Hopefully this will be the trigger for all state governemnts to also ban the thicker multi-use (or better called couple-of-use thicker) plastic bags as well.

If they don’t, the banning of single use plastic bags and the claimed environmental benefits was hollow.


…and as well thought out as most government programs these days. If it is not pasted inside their eyeglasses they could not see it, and inside their eyeglasses it is fuzzy anyway. :roll_eyes:


Indeed. What is wrong with people? It is just pathetic that they can’t manage without plastic bags.


Coles flips again on plastic bag ban, puts end date on freebies



The Queensland Government regulation was too weak from the get-go. It’s not surprising something like this has happened!

Soft plastics can be recycled in the Redcycle bins in most supermarkets around Australia. They are in every Coles nation-wide, and are being rolled out in Woolworths over the next year or so.
There is no such thing as sustainable single-use plastics. Reuseable is key!


Or perhaps something other than plastic. How does paper stack up in comparison?


It would appear that Coles cannot take a trick over the plastic shopping bag controversy.
Firstly they were attacked by customers for no longer providing free single use plastic bags when, at least in Qld, they were merely complying with State Government legislation.
Then they were attacked by claims of profiteering because they were charging for reusable plastic shopping bags.
And now they are being attacked because they are providing the same reusable bags for free to customers who need them.
Talk about a “no win” situation.


It depends on whether you see them as just reacting to the winds of fortune, the pressure of vocal customers and the sales from last month or if they should have a long term plan that considers society at large, the environment as well as future profits. Large organisations too often imagine they can take up their role as influencers, or drop it, according to convenience. I don’t think it works that way, they have much power and if they use it wisely it will show in their balance sheet in the end.


Many things can go into recycling bins. That does not necessarily result in the items being recycled. Many so called recyclicable materials cost more and use more resources to recycle than to make new. I think that’s why I suggested “readily recycled” as important without stating what material might be suitable.

Heavy coarse brown paper bags would be fine. That’s how it was 50 years ago at Barry & Roberts super market. Hemp and jute are also great options as well. It’s all about time at the checkout. Just observe how much longer it takes to put your lot thru when you hand over a bundle of odd sizes non store bags for your groceries to be scanned into.

The War on Waste series one found many examples of items not being fully recycled, but rather moved into concealed stockpiles. Soft plastics are expensive and difficult to recycle. What was the most common product in these secret stockpiles?

Any one who doesn’t know or remember the answer might like to catch up with series one when they can?

p.s. warning mild but short technical content: the first so called plastics were produced in laboratories from compounds found in naturally occurring materials including cellulose and are in theory sustainable. Nearly all modern plastic production is synthesised from compounds derived from hydrocarbons. That’s crude oil, coal and gas. All of which are one use resources. Once they are gone - that’s it.

I wonder if we will soon find Coles and Woolies refusing bags that are not one of their unique store type/brand. Or offering to trade one of your nice non standard cloth ones in on their crap plastic ones? Unless of course you use self checkout, which may be one of their secret desires too!


Good suggestion, we used to use these way back when. As always, using disposable paper bags comes with its own limitations. The immense amount of water, energy, and chemicals used in paper production and recycling does not stack up against plastic production. You’re throwing away all of the energy and resources used to produce it. Disposable isn’t sustainable.

Edit: not to mention the amount of trees that would need to be cut down to sustain our consumer habits, and the double bagging for cold/wet items, etc.


Can you substantiate that assertion?

It seems to me that much of the problem stems from the fact that plastics are too cheap. Maybe a tax on plastics would be part of the solution.


I think the important point is this:

Unless we can move on from the throwaway society, we’re stuffed.


Agreed - within limits. Shopkeepers have been giving away paper bags for decades, if not centuries. Most weren’t used more than once, but they broke down quickly and so weren’t much of an environmental problem.


There is a very interesting article on the ABC News website today regarding research into a new synthesised biodegradable plastic inspired by Australian native bees.

We have 2 hives of them in between the concrete blocks near our pool. They actually pollinate our citrus trees which is very fortunate as there are no Italian honey bees in our area.