Woolworths introduce new ‘plastic-bag-free’ stores


Woolworths will be introducing low-cost reusable bags to a number of stores across the country and launching three additional plastic-bag-free outlets. This follows the successful six-month trial at Western Cape outlets, which included Woolworths’ first plastic-bag-free store.

Following the announcement of its commitment to phase out single-use shopping bags by 2020, Woolworths trialled reusable shopping bags in Western Cape stores at V&A Waterfront, Palmyra, Pinelands, and Steenberg, with Steenberg being the first store to become single-use-bag-free.

Since the trials’ launch in November 2018, over 100 000 single-use bags were saved from unnecessary use as customers opted for affordable reusable shopping bags.
This project is part of the retailer’s attempt to shift consumer behavior to choosing reusable bags as part of its commitment to achieving the ambitious goal of becoming a zero waste to landfill company and changing to 100% reusable or recyclable packaging by 2020 while completely phasing out single-use plastics.

“We know that many of our customers fully support our zero packaging waste to landfill journey and they want to see it happen as fast as possible. But this is not a path that we can walk alone. To succeed, we need our customers, our suppliers and the South African recycling industry to work with us,” said Woolworths South Africa CEO Zyda Rylands.

“Apart from the obvious benefit of helping customers change to reusable bags, the project has other important spin-offs,” the company said.
“The reusable shopping bag’s fabric is made locally out of recycled plastic bottles and is recyclable.

To date the production of the low-cost reusable bag has resulted in over 129 000 plastic bottles being removed from South African waste streams to be recycled and made into the bag’s fabric.”

The additional Woolworths stores in the Western Cape that will start selling the low cost reusable bag from May 2019 include: Constantia Village, Hout Bay, Knysna Mall an Waterstone in Somerset West.