Coles is under fire for reversing a decision to stop providing free plastic bags to shoppers, saying some need more time to adjust to the switch to buying reusable bags.
The supermarket giant has been handing out bags to customers in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia since July 1 when it brought in a ban on single-use plastic bags and told customers they'd have to pay for reusable bags.
Coles was meant to stop providing its reusable Better Bags for free on August 1 and start charging customers 15 cents per bag, but has now backflipped on that decision and appears set to provide them indefinitely.
“Complimentary bags are intended to be an interim measure to help customers make the transition to reusable bags," Coles said in a statement.
"We will continue to listen to our customers and our teams members on an ongoing basis to assess when customers have become accustomed to bringing their own bags, and will provide them with as much notice as possible.”
Greenpeace have criticised the decision as irresponsible and disappointing, saying that Coles is perpetuating the problem of plastic waste by providing free bags.
"They talked the talk but haven't walked the walk," spokeswoman Zoe Dean said on Wednesday.
"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.
"While a minority of people are struggling to cope, we know it's just a matter of time for people to adapt to the change."
Some shoppers took to social media to attack Coles, with many promising they won't shop at the store until they stick to their guns.
Coles and rival Woolworths both recently banned single-use plastic bags and began selling reusable bags instead.
Coles originally said it would provide its Better Bags, made from 80 per cent recycled material, for free until July 8 to help customers adjust.
But Coles then decided to extend the giveaway of free reusable bags until August 1.
Woolworths also offered customers free reusable bags until July 8.