Plastic bag ban is on the way

Keep forgetting to take your reusable bags to the supermarket? It’s time to get in the habit.

Sarah Davies, Tony Bernardi and Marty Bernardi with some of the bag options that are available.

Sarah Davies, Tony Bernardi and Marty Bernardi with some of the bag options that are available.

Bernardi’s supermarkets will begin phasing out single use plastic bags at their checkouts from April 2018, in a move they say is designed to curb waste and encourage their customers to make more sustainable choices.

Bernardi’s, which have used up to eight million single use plastic bags each year, now encourages customers to start bringing their own bags to use at the registers.

Should you need an alternative, they will have recycled produce boxes available (free), reusable soft-loop bags for 10 cents, enviro bags for $1, cooler bags for $2 and hessian bags for $3. 

Bernardi’s Co-CEO Joe Bernardi says he wants to ensure the switch is as easy as possible for customers with all five of their stores in Forbes, West Wyalong, Bathurst, Blayney and Wagga to implement a transition period from April 2 to 30.

“Although we have many customers who are already bringing their own bags, we want to make this as simple as possible for everyone so we will phase out single-use plastic bags at the registers over a period of four weeks,” Mr Bernardi said. 

“This period will end on 30th April, after which customers will be required to bring their own bags or alternatively, they can make use of other options we have at the checkouts.”

Mr Bernardi says he is thrilled to be taking another step to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and has been overwhelmed with the support from customers since announcing the decision in 2017.

He said Bernardi’s takes several measures to reduce waste.

“Four out of five stores have solar panels that reduce our power consumption by up to 20 per cent, stock not suitable for re-sale is donated to charity, all meat and vegetable offcuts are given to local producers to feed their animals and we have a cardboard and plastic compactor to package up and send off cardboard boxes for recycling,” he said.

“Banning plastic bags, and ensuring Bernardi’s customers aren’t contributing to the 10 million plastic bags that end up in landfill every day is just another step in the right direction.”

Woolworths is also phasing out single-use plastic bags with a total ban to be in place by June 30.

Both Coles and Woolworths announced their phase-out of plastic bags in July last year.

South Australia, ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania have already implemented state-wide bans, while there are plans in place for Queensland to do the same next year.

"We currently give out more than 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags a year and hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage," Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said.