Online Grocery Shopping – Plastic Bag-Free? bag free online grocery shopping
Posted by on March 9, 2014


Did you know South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territories are the Australian States which already have a ban on Single-use Plastic Bags?

Queensland Conservation are working hard toward seeing Queensland join this list as the fifth state of Australia and have set a goal for as soon as 2015. They are inviting us to join their Plastic-bag Free March Campaign and see first hand how easy it is to ‘Kick the Plastic Bag Habit.


But what to do when the friendly delivery man walked this pile of plastic bags into our house – how do you order your groceries online and have them delivered any other way?

Online grocery shopping has come about in our house as placing an order and having it delivered takes seriously less time than getting organised, with an almost two-year-old in tow and head to the supermarket.

Since committing to yet another activity, blogging, family members have strongly suggested the need to reassess other time consuming chores. Looking from the outside in and trying to remain true to The Year of Striving for Balance, this want-to-be Super Mum needs to realise there are only so many hours in the day and down time is also important!

So what on earth am I going to do about those plastic bags?

Step One
There was pre thought put in during my recent order. Of course the items had to arrive in something and our designated personal shopper didn’t call into home first to pick up the reusable bags…

So this was one idea, putting a note on the top of the order:
‘Please use the minimum amount of plastic bags when packing this order’. bag free online grocery shopping

Clearly that made no difference…

The tally from this shop was:

  • 20 bags
  • 93 Items
  • 4.65 items in each bag

This isn’t at all¬†in sticking with¬†our commitment of Plastic-Bag Free¬†Shopping.

Step Two
Putting in a call to the supermarket Customer Service Department explaining our household stand against Plastic Bags. There must be an alternative solution against the order arriving in them, right?

This request must have been a first for the Customer Service Representative who answered the call, as she put me on hold to talk to her Supervisor.

The solution was –

  • Firstly verifying my account by bringing up my shopper ID number
  • Secondly ‘processing feedback’ to say ‘No Plastic Bags’ clearly recorded on my account

Now it’s a matter of waiting to see what happens with the next delivery as, she explained, it is up to the individual store whether they choose to honour this request or not.

Surely it wasn’t asking too much to find an alternative to plastic bags for the delivery?

Further research on my behalf has uncovered many organisations all over the world who are rallying support to see the Single-use Plastic Bag completely banned.

Around the world the count is growing (to date) with around 12 countries already enforcing bans on Single-use Plastic Bags. As well as implementing a ban, the Clean Up Australia (Day) website states many European Countries are charging a tax on plastic bags. Click on the above link to read more about this and other interesting developments.

So the burning question now is – ‘What does the online order arrive in for the residence of the four states of Australia (see above) as well as the many countries around the world, who are currently operating within a ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags?’

Back to the phone for me and after lengthy periods being placed on hold and being transferred between both the Customer Service and Online Shopping Departments several times asking this question, the official answer was along these lines –

“These states of Australia still get their shopping delivered in Plastic Bags because at this stage there is no alternative.”

What a disappointing answer.

The Customer Service Representative on the other line went on to assure me that next time an online order arrives at our house the delivery person will wait for me to unpack the bags used for transportation and will take them all back to the store for recycling. Is that what they are doing for customers in say South Australia where they have banned the single-use Plastic bag?

One has to wonder why the online grocery stores aren’t reusing the magnitude of boxes they must have piled up in their warehouses from which stock was delivered. Even Carrie and Aiden brought home their groceries in brown paper bags in the 2001 re-runs of Sex in the City…does this mean America is implementing responsible shopping habits and we aren’t?

Either cardboard boxes or brown paper bags would be happily receive in our house filled with our online grocery order.

Do you know anyone who lives in an area where there is a ban on Single-use Plastic Bags? It would be really interesting to hear if they have found it easy to ‘Kick the Plastic Bag Habit’ and even more interesting to hear if supermarkets really are still delivering online grocery orders in plastic bags!

If you have any luck finding out, please let us know your findings. Better still, forward this story so the residence themselves can leave a comment or share on our Facebook Page.

In the meantime this question is getting posted on a few influential pages to see what we can uncover.

If you are interested in supporting the Plastic Bag-Free Queensland Campaign head over to their Facebook Page which is full of really interesting information.

The banning of Single-use Plastic appears unavoidable. The damage they are causing is far out weighing the good by a long shot.

It now seems clear to me – ‘It won’t happen over night but it will happen….!’

Join the conversation:

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– Shea

Previous Conversations

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Day #1 of Successful Plastic Bag-Free Shopping-Check!

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10 Responses to Online Grocery Shopping – Plastic Bag-Free?

  1. Katherine

    Great post Shea! This was something I have often wondered about as not only does home delivery use plastic bags they seem to pack the stuff so there are only a couple or sometime one item per bag! We were in the States in 2008 and loved getting our groceries in brown paper bags – surely that could be an option here.

    • Shea

      I couldn’t agree more – groceries arriving in brown paper bags would be much more welcome in our house!!

      So pleased you enjoyed this post Katherine, great chatting with you in the ‘comment section…!’

  2. theresa z

    that was a great read during drinking my cup of tea. It is making me ponder our habits whilst shopping and though I am not an “on-line” grocery shopper, I will be sure to check the reusable bags are in the car on my next shopping trip!

    • Shea

      Oh thanks very much Theresa, I am thrilled you enjoyed it! I know how precious that quiet cup of tea time is…

      Good luck with your next Plastic Bag-Free grocery shop!

  3. Brendan

    We use Aussie Farmers for some of our groceries. Admittedly it is not a huge delivery but we put out the reusable cooler bag the night before delivery and the items are placed in there. Our fruit and veg delivery from them comes In a cardboard box. Seems pretty simple option as opposed to the normal plastic bags.

    • Shea

      What a great idea!

      It is suprising how easy it is to ‘Kick the Plastic Bag Habit’ once you are conscious of saying ‘no’.

      Your household has got loads of responsibile practises in place Brendan. Thankyou for consistently sharing positive results from your family’s ‘Sustainablility Drive’.

  4. Donna Munt

    As the owner of a small business constantly receiving product deliveries, I’m well aware of how quickly the cardboard boxes pile up, and we have to pay to have all this removed. Surely online grocery suppliers could use those boxes to deliver their goods, then get the customer to have the boxes ready to be picked up at the time of their next delivery so they can be used over and over again? It can’ the that hard.

    • Shea

      Thank you for your feedback Donna. It is so encouraging how many people are supporting a change in the current way large retails operate.

      I agree with you completely, reusing cardboard boxes seems such a logical alternative considering how many are circulating every day!

  5. Alana

    paper is not necessarily more environmentally friendly than plastic!

    • Shea

      Hi Alana, I prefer paper as it completely biodegrades in a matter of weeks.

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