Confusion over Coles BYO containers program

Shoppers have expressed confusion over a sustainability scheme rolled out by Coles that relies on customers bringing their own containers.

Coles has left consumers puzzled after launching the trial of a new “bring your own” packaging scheme.

As part of the retailer’s Together to Zero campaign, a handful of stores have begun trialling allowing customers to use reusable containers when picking up items from the deli counter.

But some customers were upset they wouldn’t be allowed to use their preferred glass containers.

An information card displayed in South Australia’s Blackwood trial store asked shoppers to “help reduce packaging” by bringing “your own container and we’ll fill it”.

The service was offered on the condition containers were “clean and intact”, had a “resealable lid”, and were “not glass or ceramic”.

Shoppers must bring their own container to participate in the trial. Picture: Facebook

Some shoppers were confused over the sustainability project’s exclusion of glass containers when plastic was still allowed.

Many questioned the move after it was shared on Facebook this week by a shopper excited about the scheme, who had encouraged others to make use of the trial.

Shoppers were perplexed they couldn’t use their reusable glass containers. It’s understood glass and ceramic containers are excluded from the program because of the risk they could shatter.

“Shame there’s no glass containers allowed, but still a good move,” one person wrote in a comment.

“I only have glass so it’s completely useless for me,” another said.

“More crap to take to the store,” a third wrote.

In the trial, BYO containers are not allowed to be used for deli salads, frozen prawns, barbecue items, hot food, deli express, or self-serve cheese or platters.

Coles is encouraging shoppers to use recycled and reusable bags as part of its Together to Zero program. Picture: Facebook

Some people expressed concern shoppers would bring in “manky” containers.

“As much as I love the reusable option. I have fears about this. People will be bringing in manky containers that have sat in their cars for two days to refill,” one person wrote.

Another was concerned contamination might cause food poisoning.

“How does this cover them for food poisoning?” they wrote.

Others were more optimistic about the trial.

“Oh awesome. I’ll make a special trip or two,” someone said, while another described the program a “good start”.

BYO containers are being trialled at South Australian Coles supermarkets in Burnside, Blackwood, Unley, Bridgewater, Mount Barker and Murray Bridge, and at Victoria’s Kew store.

A Coles spokesperson said the retailer was closely monitoring feedback on its trial.

“As part of our Together to Zero Waste ambition, Coles is always looking for ways to reduce reliance on unnecessary single-use plastic, while giving customers sustainable options to help them complete their shop,” they told

“We are trialling bring-your-own containers at a handful Coles supermarket delis in South Australia, to understand how best to provide this option to customers while continuing to meet stringent food safety standards.

“We will be looking closely at how our South Australian customers respond, and the feedback and insights will inform our consideration for potentially rolling this out to more stores in South Australia, or around Australia.”


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