Coles/Woolworths/Aldi - Get rid of plastic bags in your produce aisles & encourage reuse!

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What's the problem?!

Single use soft plastic bags have been available in fruit and veggie aisles as long as I can remember - for people to grab, put their fruit and veggies in and take to checkout. Days later, they end up in the bin and head to landfill. But wait - soft plastic can be recycled, I hear you say!

Of those few who bother to take their soft plastic to a Redcycle facility, the minority actually gets recycled. I would argue many of those using single use plastic bags for their produce also don't care enough to recycle them properly. Also, I'm sure Coles & Woolworths would see how many soft plastic bags are being dropped off daily - this is a great opportunity to help reduce this and the workload for your staff (and in turn expenses). It is not enough to simply recycle anymore - we need to reduce. So many of your customers don't use these bags and even bring their own reusable produce bags. Let's see that become the norm.

With Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores all across Australia, hundreds of them - the reach of this problem is huge. Thousands upon thousands of bags are being used each day - but not breaking down for years and years. The ease of convenience causes widespread devastation to our environment.

What is the soloution? What do we want?

Take away the option for convenient mindlessness in the produce aisle. For those who don't know better, educate and empower them to make a better choice - by removing your plastic bags from the fresh produce aisles.

I understand there may need to be some time for transition / educating your customers of the change and giving them ample time for making/purchasing a reusable option. Just like getting rid of single use plastic bags in the checkouts last year - the world didn't end. The majority of people switched to reusable. Those who didn't consider their environmental impact previously were forced to unlearn a negative habit - and these retailers empowered their customers to make this positive change. Now, let's make steps towards a better ecological future by eliminating the option for wasteful single use plastic bags in the produce aisles.

TO CLARRIFY: I am not asking for you to package more things in plastic as a result of thing change. If anything, this change should encourage less packaging. 

I do think you could offer reusable bag for sale in the produce section, as an alternative. People will adjust, like they did with the BYO grocery bags.

Personal message:

Coles & Steven Cain - Coles states clearly on their website "Coles is constantly exploring ways to protect our environment and to reduce our environmental impact." - Here is a beautiful way to embrace your stated values and show your customers you are happy to act on your values and work towards a better future. We want this change. You already do great work like your brilliant circular economy based crate system - let's continue the good work here.

Woolworths & Brad Banducci - On your website, under sustainability - you already state that you no longer offer single use plastic bags.. but you do, in your produce aisle. You obviously state this as it's something to be proud of (which it is) so let's be really proud and see further reduction of the single use plastic bags you still offer. "At Woolworths we are committed to reducing our use of plastic packaging across our business and helping our customers and teams to recycle. That’s why we’re now single use plastic bag free, plastic straws will no longer be available for sale in all stores within the Woolworths Group by the end of 2018 and all Woolworths stores throughout Australia have a soft plastics recycling bin for you to bring in soft plastics that can’t be recycled at home." Let's see Woolworths honour this commitment and act on their values - we want this change.

Aldi & Tom Daunt - Your UN Corporate sustainability goals and targets are impressive. It's also impressive that you have stated "By 2025, 100 percent of ALDI packaging, including plastic packaging, will be reusable, recyclable or compostable." Here is a wonderful first step to achieving that awesome target!

Who am I: 
Simply a concerned young Australian with a desire for a brighter future than we are currently promised. I am concerned that currently our future is one that depresses me and causes anxiety and fear, and like many other young Australians (and older Australians too) I want big corporations like Coles/Woolworths/Aldi to step up to the plate and embrace their corporate responsibility. The world is changing for the better and I hope these businesses will go down in history for leading that change, rather than being dragged along unwillingly. It is no longer enough to recycle, we need to reduce mindless consumption of single use plastic. This needs to no longer be the norm.