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Cockroaches, used needles, dirty nappies: What supermarket staff find in new reusable bags

Luke Grant

Cockroaches, used needles, dirty nappies and mice are reportedly among what has been found by supermarket check-out workers in new reusable shopping bags.

With Coles set to follow Woolworths and impose the single-use plastic bag clampdown from July 1, supermarket giants have been forced to address employee concern about unhygienic reusable bags.

A worker suffering a needle stick injury from a used needle in a bag and cockroaches emerging from bags onto check-outs are the type of occurrences being reported.

“People shouldn’t have to pack unhygienic bags,” insists Bernie Smith, from the Shop Assistants Union.

“If a customer really wants to put their food into that sort of a bag, I don’t know why they would, but that is something the customer has to do themselves.”

“The bag should be empty. We want them to be in a clean hygienic state, so that workers don’t have to deal with dirty bags.”

The abuse of supermarket staff has also been identified as a concern, with some customers aggrieved by the ban taking out their frustrations on staff.

“We’re very concerned as we go through this change that this could be a flashpoint where customers take out there frustration on retail staff. They don’t make the rules, they are just there doing their job trying to help customers through the process,” says Smith

“Please don’t take out your frustration on a retail worker for enforcing the new rules.”

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Luke Grant