Woolworths bans plastic bags and vows to reduce wrapping

Single-use plastic bags will be banned in all Woolworths stores from today as the retail giant tries to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic in its stores.

Customers will have to either pay 15 cents for a re-usable plastic bag, $0.99 - $2.50 for a material bag or bring their own bag or box to carry their groceries.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci addressed media in a statement earlier this morning, extolling the virtues of the new policy while acknowledging the fact that some shoppers may find the transition hard to comprehend.

"This is a landmark day for us, not just as a business, but for our customers and communities, to help support a greener future for Australia", chief executive Brad Banducci said on Wednesday.

Single-use plastic bags are slowly being phased out across the world.

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"Putting "reusable bags" at the top of your shopping list, keeping a couple in the auto or leaving a post-it note on the fridge are some simple tricks that could work as a reminder", he said.

Woolworths and rival Coles last July joined a push to rid Australia of disposable plastic bags and set a deadline of June 30, 2018 for their stores to stop offering them to shoppers.

Green groups have welcomed the bans being introduced by Coles and Woolworths.

Both supermarkets have also committed to reducing the amount of cling wrap used on fresh products moving forward, which includes fresh fruit and vegetables.

Woolworths plastic ban will begin today, Wednesday, June 20.

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Retail employees union SDA has launched its "Don't Bag Retail Staff" campaign to coincide with the ban.

"While we understand that some customers may be frustrated by this change, there is no excuse for abusive or violent behaviour towards retail staff", Mr Dwyer said.

Recent research from Canstar Blue found one-in-five shoppers are opposed to the bag bans, predicting many would be confused by the sudden lack of plastic bags despite the publicity in the lead-up to the change.

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