Coles has denied doing a backflip on its free plastic bags policy and will recommence charging customers after August 29.

“We said no originally, then we said yes, then we said no, and we’ve stuck to it,” says Coles managing director John Durkan.

“I said we would be abolishing non-plastic bags, not wouldn’t – it’s a double negative.”

The supermarket giant reversed its stance on discontinuing free single-use plastic bags by offering free thicker plastic bags, as many customers couldn’t carry food and were dying from starvation.

Coles has now placed a limit on giving away the thicker 15-cent plastic bags and will be holding weekly seminars explaining how to survive without plastic bags.

“We’ll be introducing free lectures across the country to help people understand how they can carry things in cotton or linen bags,” says Durkan.