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In a statement today, the supermarket chain said complimentary bags were still an "interim measure" to help customers make the transition to reusable bags.

Harris Farm Markets again demanded the New South Wales Government ban single-use plastic bags and warned Woolworths not to copy Coles' latest move.

Both leading supermarkets giants removed single-use plastic bags on July 1 in stores in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia following a major backlash, but ended up handing out reusable bags for free.

The supermarket's chief executive office John Durkan sent an email to his 115,000 staff.

"It's confusing and frustrating for customers that they have been flip-flopping on this issue and we really want to see them make a solid commitment to actually doing what they said they would do and ban the bags for good", Deans added.

"That's why we continue to reward consumers who do not forget to bring their own bags", said the Woolworths spokesperson.

Woolworths has levied 15c per bag since July 8. "We also call on the board of Coles to reconsider this decision for the sake of our planet", co-CEO Angus Harris said.

Plastic bags will be banned from Coles by the end of August, after public backlash.

Environmental groups, including a vocal Greenpeace, and like-minded shoppers had heaped criticism on Coles for deciding to go back on its original plan to only temporarily provide reusable bags for free.

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Coles will start charging for "reusable" plastic bags from August 30.

"It's interesting because the ban on single-use bags came as a result of pressure from customers and people calling for companies to take responsibility and stop using plastic bags".

"Working with their teams in the lead up to the campaign to replace single use bags, we were inspired by and supported Coles' nationwide desire to replace single use plastics".

Speaking to the Herald Sun, director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel labelled it a "weak act".

Woolworths has confirmed it won't be following Coles' lead.

"But we know that many customers are still finding themselves a bag or two short at the register and we want to do the right thing by them during this transition period".

The backflip comes while Coles is under huge pressure to lure customers, as its sales growth lags Woolworths just as Wesfarmers prepares to spin it out and list it separately.

Customers will continue to get rewarded with 30 free Flybuys points at the checkout if they keep in mind to come armed with their own bags.


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