Plastic bag usage an Inconvenient Truth

Hollie Azzopardi and Natasha Kosteska

Plastic bags continue to be the popular choice for supermarket consumers as Coles staff fail to suggest a greener option.

Photo by PSD

Photo by PSD

Staff at Edgecliff Coles, located in Eastpoint Food Fair, failed to ask customers if they wanted a plastic bag when buying three items or less, despite this being a well-advertised policy at the store.

The store’s manager, who asked no to be named, refused to comment on the issue, claiming it should be taken up with Coles Customer or Media Relations. Both departments also declined an interview.

The display of Green Bags at each checkout does not seem to be enough to encourage customers to use them, with cashiers mostly placing purchases directly into plastic.

Twelve shoppers seen buying less than three items were not given the ‘green option’, and three shoppers with Green Bags were given their goods in a plastic bag, regardless of store policy to minimise this.

An observation of the Edgecliff Coles showed that of 44 customers buying over three items, only three used a Green Bag. Thirty-five shoppers used plastic, with six using a mixture of plastic and reusable bags.

Sara Bennett, 67, and an ABS interviewer from Watsons Bay, refuses to use plastic bags as she believes it contributes to climate change.

“I use calico bags when I shop, not plastic, and I think it’s good that places like Bunnings are charging for their plastic bags,” she said.

Public concern about climate change is still an issue. William Law, 20, and a Navy worker from Cronulla, said: “[Climate change] is definitely a big issue –and we’re not helping things. People are ignorant. It should be a one in, all in issue.”

Pat Hogan, a 42-year-old carpenter from Ireland, thinks the media is the number one informant of climate change. “I’ve learned about climate change through the media, mostly newspapers and television,” he said.

Ms Bennet agrees, claiming films like An Inconvenient Truth are a good medium for public awareness. “[The movie] was definitely the turning point for me,” she said. “We are misusing our planet.”


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