Woolworths, Coles accelerate plastic bag ban, advance war

With Woolworths (and Coles soon after it) banning the plastic bag from tomorrow, we should truly care, and truly shouldn’t.



Headlines this afternoon carry the news that the tenuous grip the plastic bag has on our grocery runs is coming to an end far faster than initially announced, as some Woolworths and Coles stores will withdraw them tomorrow instead of the original July 1 deadline.

For those of you who shop in the NSW Woolworths stores in Marayong, Greenway Village, Dural, and Mullumbimby, welcome to the future. Conversely, those who shop at the Coles in Balgowlah, the future is one nap away.

The reasoning behind moving the deadline up, according to Woolworths, was to monitor the feelings of the shopping populace prior to the official date. However, considering the timing of the announcement, one could easily assume that there’s something else afoot. You see, hours after Woolies announced the announcement, Coles announced their own identical announcement.



Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re in the midst of a supermarket Cold War. An announcement of four stores is really not much, are barely newsworthy. It’s a flexing of administrative muscles, akin to the constant petty one-upmanship that brothers participate in. However, an obvious Chinese burn on the forearm will not do, so, this kind of thing tends to be the battleground, but the method behind it remains quite serious. Down, down, the chips are down. The plastic bag race echoes the same as the space race did for the US/USSR. It had little do with the advancement of the species, and all about who has the most valuable shopping ethos. Whoever plants their flag on the plastic-free moon will win, and for whatever reason, that will matter.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, and the plastic bag ban has precedence, with South Australia removing them all the way back in 2009, the two territories in 2011 and Tasmania in 2013. The rest of the states will fall into line officially on July 1.

However, to those of us who are perhaps tentative regarding this plastic ban, and indeed how it will impact our shop, fear not, for I have endured a place where it already went the way of the dinosaur. Living in that place taught me one important point: Plastic, no plastic, it really doesn’t matter. You bring your bags from home, you adapt, you survive. You carry on buying ice cream in lieu of making dinner like you always have.

The only thing that has changed, is nothing.

Except maybe the size of the downstairs equipment of the two supermarket empires.



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