Coles South Australia BYO container test confuses customers

Coles has left consumers baffled after launching a 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 testing allowing customers to use reusable containers when picking up items from the deli counter.

But one key requirement of the program has customers stumped: Containers must be plastic.

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

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

Some shoppers were confused by the sustainability project’s reliance on plastic, particularly with the ban on single-use bags and plastic tableware products.

Many questioned the move after a buyer enthusiastic about the scheme shared it on Facebook this week, and had encouraged others to make use of the trial.

Shoppers were stumped because they couldn’t use their reusable glass containers.

“It’s a shame glass containers aren’t allowed, but it’s still a good move,” one person wrote in a comment.

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

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

A Coles spokesperson told that the glass and ceramic containers could not be used due to the risk of them breaking and causing injury.

The use of BYO containers for deli salads, frozen prawns, barbecue items, hot food, express deli, or self-service platters or cheese is not permitted in the trial.

Some people expressed concern that buyers would bring “manky” containers.

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

Another was concerned that the contamination could cause food poisoning.

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

Others were more optimistic about the trial.

“Oh amazing. I’ll do one or two special trips,” someone said, while another described the program as a “good start.”

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

A Coles spokesman 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 providing customers with sustainable options to help complete their store,” they told .au.

“We are testing takeaway containers at a handful of Coles supermarket delicatessens in South Australia, to understand how best to provide this option to customers while still meeting strict food safety standards.

“We will be closely watching how our South Australian customers respond, and feedback and ideas will inform our consideration to roll this out to potentially more stores in South Australia or around Australia.”

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