Woolworths has announced three Australian states will be able to pick up a locally-made paper bag the next time they shop in stores.
The supermarket giant confirmed a partnership with South Australian manufacturer Detpak in December, and announced that from Monday, stores in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia will now have the locally made bags available in stores.
Woolworths also said there would be a progressive rollout out of Australian-made paper bags offered nationwide over the next year.
"The Australian made paper bags - which use 70 per cent recycled paper - are now available for purchase in more than 400 Woolworths stores across Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia," Woolworths said in a statement.
"The progressive rollout will see the bags available in all states by the end of the year."
In response to customer demand, Woolworths launched the paper carry bags in June 2020, though some customers were disgruntled to see the bags were not made locally.
“While almost all customers are now bringing their own reusable bags, we know unplanned shops still present a challenge from time to time," Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Natalie Davis said in the statement.
“Last year we introduced the option of a paper bag, which can be recycled at home, and the feedback from customers has been positive."
Australian-made Woolworths bags to create more local jobs
Woolworths said since the supermarket went plastic bag-free in 2018, around 85 per cent of transactions did not include a purchase of any carry bag.
In the statement issued by Woolworths on Tuesday, the company said it had been working with family-owned Detpak since early 2020 to produce the Australian-made bags.
“As paper bags are now a permanent part of our range, we’re working to support new Australian jobs in partnership with local manufacturer Detpak," Ms Davis said.
“Our proudly Australian made bags are the result of Detpak’s hard work to build the local capacity needed to supply hundreds of our stores across the country.
“The launch of the bags in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia will provide a welcome boost for local manufacturing, which we’ll continue to build on as we roll them out to all parts of Australia by the end of the year.”
Woolworths said the investment in making the bags locally will create around 25 new Australian jobs.
The Detpak produced bags are made from 70 per cent recycled paper, with the 30 per cent of un-recycled paper providing a "stronger structure" for the carry bags — allowing for customers pack them with up 6kg of groceries.
The bag is also certified by PEFC and Woolworths promises all the paper used is sourced responsibly.
However, wildlife conservationists were angered to find PEFC logo had replaced the renowned FSC logo of the Forest Stewardship Council.
It is a result of the supermarket switching from China-made paper bags to an Australian product.
There are key differences between the FSC and PEFC schemes. By purchasing products accredited by FSC, consumers are ensured endangered species are protected.
Woolworths said it would be seeking FSC approval and has conducted traceability and risk assessments to ensure paper suppliers meet the company's "responsible sourcing standards".
"Our locally produced bags are made of 70 per cent recycled paper, with the remaining paper coming from responsibly managed Australian plantations," a Woolworths spokesperson previously said to Yahoo News Australia.
"Importantly, none of the new paper used in our bags is sourced from native forests.”
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