Supermarket giants Woolworths & Coles has announced plans to phase out single-use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

The company is currently giving out 3.2 billion lightweight plastic bags per year.

The decision will affect stores in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. South Australia, ACT and Tasmania have already implemented state-wide bans, and Queensland plans to do so next year.

Woolworths said more durable, re-usable plastic bags would be made available at a cost of 15 cents, along with multi-use hessian bags available.

Announcing the decision in Double Bay, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said the decision was about doing the right thing for the environment.

We’ve been looking at the feedback we get back from our customers as well as the impact on the environment, and we think it’s an incredibly important thing to do,” he said.

He said the company expected to begin phasing out the single-use bags starting from next month.

“A year might sound like a long time, but actually not considering with what we’re trying to do,” he said.