Woolworths confirms controversial new trial in fruit and veg aisle, sparking outrage
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Woolworths confirms controversial new trial in fruit and veg aisle, sparking outrage

Aug 23, 2023

Woolworths supermarket has confirmed a major change to the fresh produce aisle in selected stores.

The retail giant has removed all single use plastic fruit and vegetable bags from 12 stores in a new six-week trial.

Woolworths said it is testing a variety of bagging options in the stores - that are all in Western Australia - including brown paper bags and reusable bags that are available for purchase.

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The move has already attracted criticism on social media, with some Woolies shoppers alarmed by the development.

One Reddit user shared an image of the bag display at their local store, which included the sign: “This store has removed single-use fruit and veg plastic bags.”

In their place, Woolworths had a pile of brown paper bags on offer - alongside a price tag offering reusable bags on sale for 30c.

“What the f*** is this bulls***?” asked the Reddit user in their post.

In a statement to 7NEWS.com.au, a Woolworths spokesperson said the supermarket group had started the trial in response to new legislation that’s being introduced in WA.

“We are preparing for upcoming changes in WA, with a Government ban on single use plastic fruit and veg bags set to start in March next year,” the spokseperson said.

“Twelve of our stores in WA are part of a six-week trial process that is testing a number of different bagging options.

“Customers shopping in a trial store can choose to go bagless with their fruit and veg purchase or bring their own reusable bag. We will also be offering reusable mesh bags.

“As the trial kicks off, we are offering all of our customers shopping in the selected trial stores a three-pack of Woolworths reusable mesh bags for 30 cents. These bags can be used again and again.

“We understand this will be an adjustment for customers and we’d like to thank our customers for helping us to prepare for the WA Government’s upcoming ban on single use fruit and veg bags.”

7NEWS.com.au understands that 12 stores across the state will be involved in the trial to remove plastic fruit and vegetable bags. They are: Floreat, Murray St, Yanchep, Margaret River, Busselton, Katanning, Innaloo, St Georges Tce, Northam, Karratha, Manjimup and Carnarvon.

Woolworths says it is looking to understand a number of scenarios in order to effectively prepare for the introduction of the WA Government’s legislation in March next year. This means that different alternatives will be offered at different trial stores.

For the first two weeks of the trial, Woolworths customers in select trial stores can purchase a three-pack of its own brand reusable mesh bags for 30 cents, down from $1.50*. Other stores will also have a single reusable mesh tag available to purchase for 10 cents*

During the trial, 7NEWS.com.au understands that will be collecting feedback about the various bagging options on offer.

In a string of heated responses, many social media users shared their concern over the move.

“Have they also removed hard-plastic cases for 100g of pre-chopped onions which used 10000x the amount of plastic?” asked one.

Another said: “There’s zero chance I’m paying for that.”

But others welcomed the move.

“If you take reusable bags when you go shopping it doesn’t cost you anything, and it creates less waste etc,” one suggested.

* There is a limit of two items per transaction. Offer ends 12/09/23. While stocks last.

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