Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have announced plans to phase out lightweight plastic bags from their stores.
Woolworths said it was currently giving away about 3.2billion plastic bags each year across its supermarkets and Big W and BWS stores.
Its Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmasters outlets are already plastic bag free.
Instead of the lightweight plastic bags currently in use, shoppers will be offered a choice of either reusable canvas bags or a heavier weight plastic option for prices starting from 15¢.
It’s expected that most shoppers will reuse their bags, or look to free alternatives such as reusing cardboard boxes, to avoid paying the additional cost.
Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the company was committed to taking its environmental and community responsibilities seriously.
‘‘We are committed to listening to our customers and also doing the right thing for the environment, and we feel this is an issue we need to take a stand on,’’ Mr Banducci said.
‘‘Our customers can also expect further commitments in reducing plastic use in all parts of our supply chain, especially in fruit and vegetables.’’
Woolworths and Coles have recently come under fire for their packaging and plastic bag use, especially in regard to fruit and vegetable packaging.
ABC documentary The War on Waste shined a light on how the recyclable plastic bags used by the supermarket chains were in fact going into landfill.
Woolworths said all stores were expected to be bag-free by June 30 next year.