why coles\' plastic bag backflip leaves us worse off than before

by:Chengbai     2020-06-16
One month after taking out the free lightweight plastic bag from checkout, Australian supermarket giant Coles decided to offer a thicker reusable plastic bag for free indefinitely.
This unprecedented move is in response to strong opposition from customers who are trying to turn to reusable bags.
We know that the provision of free lightweight plastic bags can lead to excessive use of plastic.
We also know that banning light plastic bags can increase the use of heavy plastic bags (
Pad in warehouse).
Cole\'s decision brought the worst of both worlds: the release of heavier plastic bags for free.
Consumer response to price changes: demand drops if prices rise.
Increasing the use of reusable bags by charging a small fee is generally successful around the world.
This includes examples of Canada, Botswana, Portugal and Ireland, where € 0 was introduced.
Tax on plastic shopping bags has reduced usage by more than 90.
A shocking example of Coles is South Africa.
They removed the lightweight plastic bag and charged 46 Rand for the thick plastic bag, which was later reduced to 17 cents.
The initial high price almost reduced the use of plastic bags by half, but when the price is reduced, the use of plastic bags will increase over time.
Behavioral economics shows that people are more sensitive to losses than gains, so economic suppression of plastic bags is particularly useful.
For example, a single-
Compared with the bonus of bringing reusable bags, when the cost is framed as tax, the use of bags is greatly reduced.
From the point of view of behavioral economics, Cole\'s backflip is particularly disturbing.
A thicker reusable plastic bag costs 15 cents.
Compared to rival supermarkets, Coles basically offers a 100 discount on these packages.
This combined with \"free power\" means that people may carry more bags than they need when shopping-increasing the amount of plastic used.
Switching to reusable packages without increasing costs means they are conceptually very similar to the old single packageuse bags (
But more plastic content).
This replacement won\'t help people kick their old singleuse habits.
In fact, they may develop a new habit of using reusable bags as a singleuse products.
If consumers continue their old habits, this can lead to more plastics entering the landfill and entering the environment.
Coles is in a difficult situation.
Not only does this decision divide shoppers, but if they decide to charge for these packages in the future, as consumers experience another loss aversion, they may go through another round of bounce-but this time the loss will be associated with higher quality products.
Now that a decision has been made, it is important for Coles to be able to assess the impact: how many free bags are being distributed? How many bin liners are being sold? How about the thicker plastic bag being used? It is also the responsibility of Coles to take alternative measures to reduce the use of plastics.
Economic restraint is not always the best choice (
For example, charging for luggage can cause additional difficulties for low-load people
Income households).
They are also not the only option to reduce our dependence on plastic bags.
A more equitable solution might be to use behavioral science to help consumers break their habits.
For example, Coles can rent their reusable canvas bags for a small refund instead of giving out plastic bags free of charge.
This will encourage reuse while avoiding additional costs at low cost
Opposition from income families or customers-everyone wins.
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