How's this for a spectacular double backflip: after announcing yesterday that it would continue to give away free plastic bags indefinitely following customer complaints, supermarket giant Coles has now hastily clarified that actually, it'll be stopping this on August 29.
Most state governments in Australia have banned thin single-use bags or have plans to ban them, and the supermarket giant had pledged to phase them out from July 1.
The supermarket conglomerate meant to start charging 15 cents for their reusable Better Bags on August 1st but have since backflipped on this decision.
Greenpeace described Coles as irresponsible and disappointing.
Major retailers in all but two Australian states face fines if they supply single-use plastic bags.
"They talked the talk but haven't walked the walk", she told the AAP on Wednesday.
Social media also lit up, with many accusing Coles of buckling under pressure from recalcitrant shoppers.
The only good part of this was the 15c charge, which would change people's behaviour over time.
In a statement today, the supermarket chain said complimentary bags were still an "interim measure" to help customers make the transition to reusable bags.
"What a bunch of cowards you are @Coles you should be doubling down and not making any plastic bags available in your stores", Ben B tweeted.
"Coles' colossal plastic bag fail" and "Coles caves" ran headlines on Australia's main news sites.
"We've found the majority of our customers across Australia have embraced the move to a more sustainable way of shopping", it said, adding that it would take 3.2 billion single-use bags out of circulation each year.
Co-CEO Angus Harris said the switch "was not easy" but had already stopped 15 million single-use plastic bags ending up in landfill or as litter.
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.
Coles will start charging for "reusable" plastic bags from August 30.
Just a day after Coles announced it would offer customers free plastic bags indefinitely, a new cut-off date for the complimentary bags has now been set after public backlash.
Mr Dee said a previous trial of slightly thicker plastic bags, run by the National Plastic Bag Campaign, showed the number of customers who returned to reuse them was "pathetically low".