Plastic single-use fresh produce bags will be removed from all 12 Coles stores in the ACT by the middle of next month as the supermarket giant trials what could become a nationwide ban.
Announcing the ACT trial this morning, the supermarket said it would encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags to put their produce in, however, mesh fresh produce bags would also be available to purchase.
Coles chief operations and sustainability officer Matt Swindells said the initiative was a national first that would help the supermarket chain decide on the possibility of a blanket ban across all of its stores.
"We will be looking closely at how our ACT customers respond," he said.
"These insights will inform our consideration for potentially rolling this out to our customers nationally."
Mr Swindells said the trial ban in the ACT, lasting one year, would aim to reduce at least 11 tonnes of plastic.
The ACT brought in a ban on single-use plastics at the beginning of last year which meant plastic cutlery and some takeaway containers could no longer be supplied or sold in the territory.Mesh bags will be available for purchase as a replacement for the plastic bags currently used for fresh produce. (
ABC News: Ian Cutmore)
Mia Swainson, chair of Zero Waste Revolution told ABC Radio Canberra that she had fallen for the convenience of the plastic fresh produce bag before.
"I try and reuse it around the house until it's so ripped and torn where I then put it out to be recycled but, by rule, I don't use those thin plastic bags because I do bring those alternatives like reusable shopping bags," she said.
"I have a really strong philosophy of meeting people where they are at and helping them to take one step at a time and not feel guilty about that one plastic bag that is the exception."
Of the trial ban, Ms Swainson said it was another change that could soon become a habit for shoppers.
"With the change, the first time you could do it could come with trepidation and then once it becomes a habit, you've moved on," she said.
Ms Swainson said there were a number of alternatives to the plastic bag, including going back to the paper bag.
"You have to remember, there was a time where everyone's fruit and veg were in a paper bag and we moved to plastic," she said.