Woolies dumps a 99-cent favourite, causing stir among shoppers

Woolworths reusable tote bags will soon have a new look.

Woolworths reusable tote bags will soon have a new look. Photo: TND/AAP/Woolworths

Woolworths has sparked a storm among some of its most loyal customers with a surprise decision to dump its trademark “Bag for Good” tote bags.

The 99-cent bags in the retailer’s trademark green were famous for Woolworths’ promise to replace them for free if they wore out.

They were introduced in 2018 as the company trialled scaling back on single-use plastic bags.

This week’s move to dump them caused a stir with some customers.

“Had to buy a bag at Woolworths yesterday,” one Twitter user wrote.

“What happened to the non-woven Bag for Good with free replacement on damage?

“The option of polypropylene bag feels much weaker.

“The Bag for Good has long been my favourite, in all the years I’ve had them I’ve only needed to replace one.”

One overseas Twitter user even offered to return his Bag for Good to Australia – for a price.

The retailer is replacing the bags with what it says is a “sturdier” alternative that is also more eco-friendly.

“We have been gradually running down stock of our green Bag for Good totes, with a sturdy new-look 99-cent tote bag set to take its place,” a Woolworths spokesperson said.

The updated bags are made of 70 per cent recycled materials.

They are already available in Woolworths in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. They will arrive in South Australia and Northern Territory in coming weeks.

“We’ve seen a significant shift in shopping habits in recent years with 80 per cent of our customers now bringing their own bags to shop,” the spokesperson told The New Daily.

“Our paper shopping bags and other bag options continue to be available to customers as well.”

While the new tote bags will not have a replace-for-free guarantee, Woolworths will continue to honour the guarantee on any Bag for Good bags that have already been purchased by replacing any damaged bags with another bag of equivalent value.

Supermarkets’ slow progress on plastic

The news comes as Australian supermarkets increasingly ditch single-use plastic bags in stores.

The company said the Bag for Good change reflected customer demand for more action on plastic reduction and recycling, as Australia endures a barrage of climate-change related environmental disasters.

Woolworths and supermarket rival Coles stopped offering free plastic bags at checkouts years ago, and have both trialled the removal of single-use bags in fruit and vegetable sections this year.

However, experts have criticised the big companies’ slow progress, and the amount of plastic still used for fresh produce packaging.

Supermarket fabric tote bags, usually touted as environmentally-friendly options, have also previously been called out for requiring more material and energy to produce than ordinary single-use plastic bags.

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