You arrive at the Woolworths teller. Maybe you felt like splurging at Woolies that day, or maybe you just wanted a taste of the silver-spoon lifestyle. Either way, you’ve got some goods and you’re ready to bag it up and devour that rotisserie chicken.
Naturally, the teller proceeds to ask you the inevitable question.
“Do you need bags?”
Of course you do. You don’t have 40 arms. You answer with a polite yes and a smile. However, your counterpart doesn’t meet your energy.
“They’re R7 as part of our plastic-free initiative,” the teller looks at you, eyes filled with concern.
With a deep sigh, you realise that you forgot any reusable bags you may have had at home. Of course you did. You’re not an advanced shopper, the five-star general of grocery shopping who is armed with their reusable bags at any given moment. You’re just a private.
For many shoppers, the Woolworths bag situation is something of a a dilemma.
Sitting in the car outside the Woolworths for the last 10 minutes just absorbing that I remembered to bring the bloody bag. pic.twitter.com/EvUzduKRle
— Lester Kiewit (@lesterkk) May 27, 2021
You support the ideology behind the 85% recyclable PET plastic bags, but you always forget them at home. Or perhaps you’re coming from work and you don’t have time to rescue the bags from the confines of your house. In the end, this creates a cycle of producing more of these bags, when they could potentially be reused within the circle of customers.
As the GoodThingsGuy Brent Lindeque put it, the Woolworths bag situation is somewhat problematic for further reasons. While we might be fighting the plastic problem, what’s been created is a “Woolies bag problem”.
I think @WOOLWORTHS_SA should buy back bags… or let you donate them to the “door” so that you could bring them all back at once and then really “re-use” them. I mean, the bags were a good idea to stop the plastic problem but we’ve just created a Woolies bag problem.
— Brent Lindeque (@BrentLindeque) August 31, 2021
Buying back the bags or donating them certainly has a positive ring to it, and relief for the forgetful shopper. As per Lindeque, it allows consumers to embrace the “re-use” mantra that falls part of recycling’s underbody.
Woolworths, however, jumped on the ‘bag wagon‘ somewhat quickly in response to Lindeque’s tweet.
We are trialing a bag return initiative at one store which we hope to expand soon, but those returned bags will be recycled as opposed to given to other customers (which is tricky in current times).
— Woolworths SA (@WOOLWORTHS_SA) August 31, 2021
As part of Woolworths’ trial initiative, they’re focusing on an option that allows returned bags to be recycled, but not given to other customers. This option is in the early phases, and is currently happening at one store in Johannesburg, as per EWN. While it may be more in line with targeted recycling, perhaps the food retail giant will consider killing two birds with one stone when it comes to their bag situation, namely, targeted recycling through bag return to other customers, which could decrease the price significantly if implemented, if there were any price at all (one can dream).
That way, the next time you meet the teller’s gaze, the encounter could allow for options as opposed to dismay.
“Would you like a recycled bag?”
Picture: Instagram: @bhumehdiaries