Recycling in the bag? Woolworths trials bag return initiative

It's been three years since Woolworths announced it would be phasing out plastic bags from its stores in a bid to go plastic-free, and now it's mulling the next step for its shopping bags.

A Woolworths Food store. Image: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Retailer Woolworths is trialing an initiative at one of its stores through which shoppers can return its recyclable bags.

It's been three years since Woolworths announced it would be phasing out plastic bags from its stores in a bid to go plastic-free.

The retailer wants to stop using non-recyclable plastic packaging for its own products, as well as plastic shopping bags, straws, and earbuds by 2022.

As part of this campaign, it introduced reusable shopping bags made from 85% recyclable PET plastic which customers buy for R7 at various stores around the country.

However, GoodThingsGuy Brent Lindeque recently tweeted that the accumulation of the new bags had created a separate problem.

"But while the bags were a good idea to stop the plastic problem they've also created another problem, 'a Woolies bag problem," said Lindeque.

He suggested the retailer buy back the bags or be able to donate them back to the store.

The retailer responded that it was in fact trialing a bag return initiative at one store which it hoped to expand soon, and whereby those returned bags would be recycled.

While it seems the intention of Woolworths in introducing its recyclable bag was a good one, some social media users have taken to Twitter to bemoan buying a bag at the till when they forget to bring their own.

In August Cape Town-based ballet dancer Bhungane Mehlomakhulu went viral on Twitter when he posted pictures of himself wearing a shirt and shorts he had made using Woolworths shopping bags.

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