Supermarket chain Woolworths had begun making its paper shopping bags in Australia, a plan it had in place before customers voiced outrage about the company sourcing bags in China. The company said in a statement it had entered into a multi-million-dollar deal with the company Detpak to make bags domestically.
The move will create 25 new Australian jobs in manufacturing.
In June last year, Woolworths faced a customer backlash following its launch of the paper bags to give customers environmentally friendly options when they forgot their reusable ones.
But some furious consumers took to social media to complain after finding out the bags were made abroad.
“What a disgrace. Certainly won’t be using these bags,” one person wrote on Facebook.
Some concerned people said they thought the movie showed Woolworths wasn’t invested in creating Australian jobs.
A company spokeswoman said at the time that Woolworths would have liked to offer Australian-made bags, but there wasn’t a domestic manufacturer that could do the job.
“We’ve been exploring options to source paper bags locally at the scale we need,” the spokeswoman told news.com.au.
In Monday’s announcement, Woolworths said it had worked with Detpak since early last year to scale production to a point where the bags offered at the supermarket would all be made in Australia.
It had always intended to produce the bags locally but needed to wait until there was the capability to do this in Australia.
It said customers in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory were now offered Australia-made bags.
Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Natalie Davis said that while customers mainly brought their own reusable bags, it was another option during an unplanned shop.
“Last year, we introduced the option of a paper bag, which can be recycled at home, and the feedback from customers has been positive,” she said.
“As paper bags are now a permanent part of our range, we’re working to support new Australian jobs in partnership with local manufacturer Detpak.
“Our proudly Australian-made bags are the result of Detpak’s hard work to build the local capacity needed to supply hundreds of our stores across the country.
“The launch of the bags in Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia will provide a welcome boost for local manufacturing, which we’ll continue to build on as we roll them out to all parts of Australia by the end of the year.”