Coles is under mounting pressure to reveal its plastic bags usage after rival Woolies admitted customers were using a whopping 3.2 billion at their own supermarkets each year.
Last week, the Woolworths Group announced it was phasing out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months across its supermarkets, Big W and BWS stores, AAP reports.
And while Coles soon followed in its commitment to the initiative, long time ban-the-bags advocate John Dee from non-profit DoSomething! says the Coles must also keep to a 12 month deadline and reveal its usage rates.
"If you're going to have a plastic bag phase out, you need to be able to measure what you're phasing out," he said.
"By publicly disclosing their figures, Woolworths is now in a position to transparently report to the public and government on how they are progressing with their phase out.
“Coles are really obligated to do the same."
Mr Dee reckons Coles – which has about 800 supermarkets compared to about 990 for Woolies – would be using between two billion and 2.5 billion a year or more, and anticipates government estimates of four billion bags a year are way off.
While a Coles spokesperson dodged questions from AAP on a precise figure, but said the chain already had reusable bags available, which started at 15 cents.
"As part of our commitment to better environmental outcomes, Coles will also continue to offer recycling bins for soft plastics at 630 of our stores, the largest retailer-operated recycling program of its type in Australia," he said.
Mr Dee also called for IGA – which has 1400 stores nation-wide – to also ban single-use plastic bags within a year.