Woolworths share price edges lower despite green milestone

The supermarket giant has pledged to remove plastic carry bags from its checkouts.

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Key points

  • The Woolworths share price is slipping today, spending Friday afternoon in the red
  • That's despite the company making yet another sustainability pledge
  • This time, the supermarket giant is pledging to ditch reusable plastic carry bags offered at checkouts 

The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price is underperforming on Friday despite the company taking yet another major sustainability step.

The supermarket giant has pledged to pull plastic shopping bags from Woolies supermarkets and Big W stores over the coming 12 months.

At the time of writing, the Woolworths share price is trading at $34.56, 0.20% lower than its previous close. In comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is recording a 0.78% gain right now.

Let’s take a closer look at the company’s plan to remove 9,000 tonnes of plastic from circulation each year.

Woolies to wave goodbye to plastic carry bags

The Woolworths share price is struggling to fire up on Friday. Its suffering comes amid news the supermarket giant is ditching reusable plastic carry bags.

The bags in question are sold in-store for 15 cents each, with a 45-cent option available in Big W. They’re made from 80% recycled materials and are recyclable through REDcycle bins which can be found in Woolworths stores.

The supermarket operator has already ditched the bags in Western Australia ahead of a state government mandate. There, 76% of customers have supported the move. Next to wave goodbye to the bags will be South Australia and the Northern Territory, with the rest of the country following suit by June 2023.

The bags were first offered in 2018 to help customers adjust to the removal of single-use plastic shopping bags from supermarkets. Nowadays, 80% of Woolies shoppers already bring their own bags from home, according to the food retailer.

The supermarket will continue to provide 70% recycled paper bags for customers who forget to bring their own.

Woolworths supermarkets managing director Natalie Davis commented on the decision, saying:

Customers expect us to lead on sustainability, and this is one way we are growing greener by reducing plastic and ensuring the regular trip to your local Woolworths or BIG W is having less impact on the environment.

The reusable plastic bags have played their part and now it’s time to do away with selling plastic shopping bags at our checkouts for good.

Most Woolies’ produce departments will still offer plastic bags to carry fruit and vegetables. However, the company is working to provide more sustainable options. In South Australia, for example, it provides compostable fruit and veg bags, complementing the state’s access to household composting.

Woolworths share price snapshot

Today’s dip included, the Woolworths share price is around 10% lower than it was at the start of 2022.

It has also fallen nearly 5% since this time last year.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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