AAP reported the grocery will slash the amount of plastic used to wrap its fruit and vegetables and make all packaging on its home-brand products recyclable.
Coles said in a statement it also pledges to divert 90 per cent of all supermarket waste (including food, cardboard and plastic) from landfill by 2022 and donate the equivalent of 100 million meals to people in need by 2020 by redistributing surplus food. Since 2011, Coles have donated around 72 million meals to SecondBite and Foodbank.
Coles managing director John Durkan said it wanted to lead the way in its commitment to the environment. AAP said the latest move comes as the retailer plans to phase out single-use plastic bags on July 1.
“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. We are delighted to be the only Australian supermarket to sell own brand water bottles that are both 100 per cent recyclable and 100 per cent made from recycled materials. Now we are the first major food retailer in Australia to announce a target to make all of our own brand packaging recyclable by 2020, ahead of the Federal Government’s target of 2025,” Durkan said.
“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. By connecting an additional 130 supermarkets to SecondBite this year, we will also be further diverting food waste from landfill.”
Coles’ key commitments to recycling and packaging include:
- A program to reduce plastic wrapping of fruit and vegetables through new initiatives such as removing double plastic packaging for fruit, selling bunched vegetables like kale and silver beet without plastic, and removing plastic packaging from Coles Brand bananas.
- Replacing packaging for a wide range of meat and poultry products with packaging made from recycled and renewable materials.
- Replacing existing single use fresh produce bags with bags which have 30 per cent recycled content.
- Providing customers with an option to recycle all their soft plastics at every Coles supermarkets across Australia, to then be converted into a range of products including outdoor furniture and road base.
- Providing an additional one million reusable crates for fresh produce in its supply chain in 2019 to replace single-use cardboard and polystyrene boxes, adding to the six million reusable plates currently being used.