OUR SAY | Bag ban needs to make sure supermarkets and their staff are on the same page

IF the supermarkets really want to crack down on the use of single use plastic bags they probably should have ensured a smoother roll out of the scheme.

Essentially most of us support the idea …  and essentially most of us want to do the right things but it’s not always easy.

In some cases the problem comes down to a lack of staff training about how the scheme works and how to ensure customers have the best shopping experience they can.

One retailer jumped on board the ban the plastic bag campaign early and was offering customers boxes or paper bags for their grocery items.

For some customers the use of a box is unwieldy and too heavy to transport if packed incorrectly with too many bulky items.

On several occasions earnest and polite young staff have been known to over pack the paper bags unintentionally ensuring the bottom falls out of the bag somewhere between the boot and the kitchen bench.

This week Woolworths has had to come out and reassured its customers that they can reuse any bag for their groceries after one customer was told she would have to buy a new one rather than use the one she supplied.

Chloe Berryman visited Woolworths in Orange on Tuesday to buy deli meat and eggs before taking her four items to the express lane.

But when she passed over a new plastic bag, which had come from another retailer, to the staff member at the checkout, she was told it was unacceptable and she would have to pay for a 15-cent multi-use plastic bag. 

Ms Berryman said the bad was perfectly clean and stable.

Ms Berryman is not the only one. Other customers have also been in contact about supermarket staff questioning their bag choices.

The major supermarkets followed Aldi’s lead in June and July, abandoning so-called single-use plastic bags in favour of cloth and thicker plastic designed to last longer. Coles backflipped on it's decision to make customers purchase bags in August, and is now offering free reusable bags indefinitely. 

However many outlets said shoppers could still bring in the thinner bags.

Unfortunately there seems there’s been a crucial lack of communication between those who sign off on these plastic-saving initiatives and the staff enforcing them.