Food & Wine

Tue, 5 Jun, 2018Danielle McCarthy

Coles and Woolies planning to ban these contentious products

Coles and Woolies planning to ban these contentious products

As supermarkets around Australia plan to phase out single-use plastic bags later this month, Coles and Woolies are announcing the extra changes that will be coming to stores.

By the end of 2018, Woolworths will stop selling plastic straws and will remove plastic packaging from a further 80 fruit and vegetable lines.

The initiative will see 134 million plastic straws removed from circulation annually.

In a response to environmentally conscious customers, Woolworths has also removed 140 tonnes of plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables over the past year.

“While we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of plastic in our stores, supported recycling labelling initiatives, and made improvements in energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing and reducing food waste, we know that more needs to be done to meet our customers’ expectations,” said Woolworths group chief executive Brad Banducci.

“Today’s initiatives represent further small, but important, steps in our commitment to make positive change happen. We understand the journey towards a more sustainable future has its challenges, but together with our customers and industry partners we are committed to moving our business, our country and our planet towards a greener future.”

Woolworths will be offering a new green reusable shopping bag with a lifetime replacement offer for when the nationwide ban of single-use plastic bags comes into effect.

On Monday, rival Coles announced that the supermarket would remove plastic wrapping from bananas and bunched vegetables, such as kale and silver beet.

The ban follows online outrage from customers after photographs of individually wrapped bananas, sweet potatoes and cucumbers went viral.

“We know that 69 per cent of customers say that we need to actively reduce waste and landfill through recyclable packaging and find alternative uses for waste,” Coles managing director John Durkan said in a statement.

Coles also announced a target to make all of their own brand packaging recyclable by 2020 and to donate the equivalent of 100 million meals in surplus food to those in need by 2020.

“By the end of this year we will also connect every Coles store to the vital food rescue program, SecondBite, meaning surplus edible food from every Coles supermarket will be redistributed to people in need,” said Mr Durkan.

“By connecting an additional 130 supermarkets to SecondBite this year, we will also be further diverting food waste from landfill.

“By 2020, we want to provide the equivalent of 100 million meals to Australians in need. Since 2011, we’ve donated around 72 million meals to SecondBite and Foodbank, so we’ve still got 28 million meals to go. Coles has also pledged to label all Coles Brand products with recycling information to help customers know how and where to dispose of their waste.”

Coles will also replace packaging for meat and poultry with packaging made from recycled and renewable materials, and replace fresh produce bags with bags that have 30 per cent recycled content.