Australian supermarket chain Woolworths has decided to eliminate its plastic shopping bags, which are currently sold for A$0.15 ($0.11) each, in Western Australia (WA) from next month.

As part of the initiative, the retailer will offer Australian-made paper shopping bags to replace the reusable plastic bags at its stores over the coming weeks.

Woolworths launched the reusable plastic shopping bags in 2018 to replace single-use plastic shopping bags.

In 2020, the supermarket chain added paper shopping bags to its range.

The retailer will offer three carry bag alternatives at its stores, namely A$0.20 paper bags made from 70% recycled paper, Woolworths’ Bags for Good and foldable fabric bags.

Woolworths WA State general manager Karl Weber said: “Over the next month, we’ll be gradually phasing out plastic shopping bags from our stores and online orders across WA, as we move to support the WA Government’s upcoming plastic bag ban.

“This change will see more than 30 million plastic bags removed from circulation in WA every year – which is a big win for the health of our oceans and waterways.

“While our paper bags will continue to be available, the most sustainable bag you can use is the reusable one you bring from home.”

Woolworths claims that the move will make it the first major supermarket to remove plastic shopping bags in Australia.

It comes ahead of new state legislation to ban a variety of plastic shopping bags in WA from this July.

Weber added: “We know the change brought about by this new WA legislation may be an adjustment for some customers and we thank them in advance for their support as we all work together to grow greener.”

In November last year, Woolworths replaced single-use plastic picnic items with an extended range of more sustainable items in all its stores across the country.