Plastic straws to be shelved by Woolworths this year as Coles commits to 90pc diversion from landfill by 2022 – ABC Rural


Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths today announced new environmental commitments in response to a shift in consumer attitudes.

Coles has pledged to halve food waste across its supermarkets in two years and divert 90 per cent of its waste, including food, cardboard and plastic, from landfill by 2022.

The major retailer refused to reveal how much of its fresh food and packaging currently ends up in landfill.

But senior communications manager Martine Alpins said Coles “wouldn’t be setting these targets if we didn’t expect that we will be able to meet them”.

Ms Alpins said the initiative responded directly to surveys showing 69 per cent of customers wanted to see waste reduced through recyclable packaging and finding alternative uses for waste:

  • bananas, silverbeet and kale were some of the items that would no longer be wrapped in plastic, although plastic would still be used where it increased shelf-life
  • all Coles branded packaging recyclable by 2020 ahead of a federal government target of 2025
  • replacing single use bags with bags which have 30 per cent recycled material; and
  • providing customers with easily-recognisable recycling bins to return soft plastics.

Meanwhile, Woolworths said it will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018, as well as reduce plastic packaging in fruit and vegetables as pressure from environmentally-conscious customers mounts.

The change will save 134 million plastic straws from going into circulation each year.

Tips for reducing plastic straw use

Tips for reducing plastic straw use

  • Ask hospitality staff to serve your drink without a straw.
  • Bring your own reusable metal, bamboo or glass straw for use at cafes and bars.
  • Request venues to go straw-free or use environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic.

Source: Plastic Free Manly

Woolworths group CEO Brad Banducci said it represented further small, but important, steps.

“We know more needs to be done to meet our customers’ expectations.

Environment group wants to go further

Environment group Planet Ark has welcomed the moves today by Coles and Woolworths but it wants them to go further.

Its head of operations Marty Middlebrook said the supermarkets also needed to commit to using recycled product in packaging.

“The plastic and cardboard waste needs to be turned into something useful,” he said.

“We’ll know the consumer circle has been completed when we start to see ‘package made from recycled content’.

The comprehensive National Recycling and Recovery Survey found Australians used 844,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in 2015-16 and only 31 per cent of that was being recycled.

Mr Middlebrook said at the moment only about 10 per cent of packaging came from recycled product.

He said the new Australian label coming out for all recyclable products would give consumers better information about which bin to throw their items, instead of guessing.

He said Woolworths has announced it had signed onto the Australasian Recycled Package Label but Coles was yet to do so.

Food rescue on the rise but not at the farm gate

In its bid to halve food waste across its supermarkets, Coles said it would increase the number of ‘equivalent’ meals to people in need from 70 million to 100 million by redistributing surplus food as well as connecting an additional 130 supermarkets to its food rescue program.

It would also continue working with its suppliers to reduce food waste on farms by finding alternative uses for produce that is not fit for sale.

Ms Alpins pointed to examples such as Queensland’s Mackays Bananas trialling banana flour and bread and Rugby Farms developing zucchini and pumpkin noodles.

But today’s commitment by Coles made no mention of strict market specifications which have been widely blamed for contribution to millions of tonnes of fruit and vegetables being dumped before it left the farm gate.

“We’re constantly working with our suppliers to ensure they can produce crops that are fit for sale and our customers will love to eat,” Ms Alpins said.

“I think people just want quality in fresh produce these days and we’ve got to find the balance between working with our suppliers to make sure they can produce the best.”

War on Waste



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *