Woolworths R5 black bag
The production of the low cost reusable bag has resulted in over 129, 000 plastic bottles being recycled and made into the bag’s fabric. Photo Jay Caboz
  • Woolworths will now have four plastic-bag free stores across the country.
  • Since November last year, the company has now sold 110,000 R5 black fabric bags. 
  • Almost 130,000 plastic bottles were recycled to manufacture these bags.
  • One store saw a 23% drop in the sales of single-use plastic bags thanks to the implementation of the black bags.
  • 1.6 bottles can make a metre of material, which is enough fabric to make 2 bags.
  • Visit the Business Insider SA homepage for more stories.

Woolworths has announced that it will stop offering plastic bags at three more stores: its stores in Maroun Square in Johannesburg, Moreleta Village in Pretoria and Delcairn Centre in Durban.

In November last year, it banned plastic bags at the Steenberg Village Woolies in Tokai. 

At the same time, it also launched R5 reusable fabric black bags, made from recycled plastic bottles, across four Cape Town stores.

More than 110,000 of these bags have since been sold - and 130,000 plastic bottles were used in the manufacturing of these bags. 

Woolworths will now sell these bags at fifteen more stores across the country.

Read more: We tested the new R5 bags from Checkers, Pick n Pay and Woolworths – and found that there’s really no excuse to use plastic anymore

They are turned into fabric bags by local South African supplier, Isikhwama, who have been working with Woolworths for 10 years. 

1.6 bottles can make a metre of material, which is enough fabric to make 2 bags.

“At the stores where customers had the option to keep buying single-use plastic bags, we saw promising reductions in plastic bag sales, particularly at Woolies Pinelands, Cape Town, where there was a 23% drop in the sales of single-use plastic bags,” said Feroz Koor, the Woolworths Holdings Group Head of Sustainability. 

Woolworths committed to achieve a zero packaging waste to landfill vision, which includes the commitment to ensuring that all packaging is recyclable or reusable by 2022, and to specifically phase out single-use plastic bags by 2020. 

Read more: Why South Africans are being misled by the recycling numbers on packaging

These are the Woolworths stores that will stock them:  

Current Woolies stores selling the low-cost reusable bag since November 2018:

Steenberg Village* (Cape Town)

V&A Waterfront

Palmyra Junction


Additional Woolies stores that will start selling the low cost reusable bag from May 2019:

Constantia Village (Cape Town)

Delcairn Centre* (Durban)

Douglasdale (Johannesburg)

Durban West St (Durban)

Hout Bay (Cape Town)

I’langa Mall (Nelspruit)

Knysna Mall (Knysna)

Lilies Quarter (Durban)

Maroun Square* (Johannesburg)

Moreleta Village* (Pretoria)

Nelspruit Crossings (Nelspruit)

Nicolway (Bryanston)

Parkview Kimiad (Pretoria)

Sandton City (Sandton)

Waterstone (Somerset West)

* Single use plastic shopping bag free store

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