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Coles will stop selling single-use plastic tableware

Image of a store

Supermarket Coles Group will stop selling single-use plastic tableware products from July 1.

The supermarket will halt stocking plastic cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery, which will be replaced with FSC-certified tableware and reusable options.

Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express outlet and Coles Liquor stores will not be selling them a few months from now, while its stores in South Australia will be phasing out the legislated single-use plastic tableware by next Monday, (March 1) to adhere to the state’s law.

The latest move aims to divert 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from the landfill every year.

“As a company, we already divert 79 per cent of our waste from landfill and have recycled more than 1 billion pieces of flexible plastic with the support of REDcycle and our customers, since 2011,” Coles CEO Steven Cain said.

Coles latest survey shows 65 per cent of its customers are aware of the impact of using single use plastic tableware to the environment and prefer using sustainable alternatives.

“During 2020, Clean Up Australia volunteers told us that 18.5 per cent of the plastic items removed through their efforts were single-use cups, plates, bowls, straws, stirrers and cutlery,” Clean Up Australia chairman Pip Kiernan said.

“Too many of these items end up in our parks, waterways, beaches and roadsides and if left there damage our precious environment for hundreds of years, outliving all of us.”

Assistant minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans MP said companies who are finding solutions to reduce plastic wastes are bringing the country one step closer to achieving a more sustainable society.

Aldi Australia stopped selling single use plastic tableware, plastic straws and plastic stemmed cotton buds in 2020. The supermarket is also targeting to cut 25 per cent of all plastic packaging from its range by 2025.

“We congratulate Coles for following our lead and encourage all retailers to consider their impact on the environment,” a spokesperson from Aldi told Inside FMCG.

Meanwhile, Woolworths stopped selling plastic straws in its stores in 2018, and says it will continue to phase out unnecessary plastics.

“Our customers can expect to see disposable plastic tableware replaced with an expanded range of sustainable alternatives in the near future,” a spokesperson told Inside FMCG.

“We’re working on a phased transition with our suppliers starting in South Australia where we’ve recently removed disposable plastic cutlery, cups, bowls and plates.”

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