Woolworths shopper sparks debate with 'hack' for free plastic bags

An Australian decluttering and organisation expert has divided opinion on TikTok after she shared her ‘hack’ for getting free plastic bags at Woolworths.

Anita Birges, also known as @miseenplace_au to her 50,000 followers online, posted a video last week titled ‘What to do when you forget shopping bags’.

A Woolworths shopper has divided opinions online after sharing a ‘hack’ for free plastic bags at Woolworths. Photos: TikTok/miseenplace_au
A Woolworths shopper has divided opinions online after sharing a ‘hack’ for free plastic bags at Woolworths. Photos: TikTok/miseenplace_au

The Sydney mum said that her solution is to take used bags out of the soft plastics recycling bin for free rather than spending 15 cents per bag.

“Here’s a little hack for you. I forgot shopping bags today, so I came over to the recycling area and grabbed a whole bag full,” she said.

“Saving hack, recycling hack, and shopping hack all in one.”

Followers quickly rushed to the comments to share their thoughts on the hack, with plenty of people labelling it as a “great idea”.

“Can’t believe I didn’t think of this, no more juggling!” one person replied, while another added, “You are truly a genius”.

“That's just big brains time! You mean you don't just buy more and add them to the cupboard full of bags?” someone else joked.


However, a few people questioned whether shoppers were actually allowed to take bags from the recycling and if it was “unhygienic”.

“I didn't think we could grab bags from there,” one follower said, with someone else writing, “This feels illegal”.

“Are you allowed to do that? I mean it makes sense but maybe they don’t allow it,” another asked.

“Yuck,” a different user remarked, followed by someone who said, “I like this idea but I couldn’t do it because you don’t know what was in them before… I’d have to check them over”.

Woolworths supermarket.
Woolworths recently pledged to remove all plastic shopping bags by June 2023. Photo: Getty

Woolworths’ pledge to remove all plastic shopping bags

The TikTok hack comes just a few weeks after Woolworths announced that they were becoming the first nationwide supermarket to pledge to remove all plastic shopping bags.

The retail giant will stop selling its 15 cent reusable bags across the country, with the phase-out set to be complete by June 2023.

“Our reusable plastic bags were introduced back in 2018 to help customers adjust to the removal of single-use plastic bags from our stores,” Natalie Davis, Managing Director of Woolworths Supermarkets said.

“We've seen a huge shift in shopping habits since we stopped giving out single-use plastic bags, with eight out of 10 customers now bringing their own bags from home.

“The reusable plastic bags have played their part and now it's time to do away with selling plastic shopping bags at our checkouts for good.”

Woolworths' paper bags, which are made from at least 70 per cent recycled paper, will remain available in stores for those who forget to bring their own.

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