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Woolworths backs next-gen plan to replace virgin plastics

Woolworths CEO and MD Brad Banducci (left) with Samsara CEO Paul Riley. Image: Dallas Kilponen

Woolworths Group is backing Australian enviro-tech startup Samsara to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastics by creating infinite recycling. 

Supported by The Australian National University and Main Sequence, the technology uses plastic-eating enzymes to break plastic down to its core building blocks, which can then be used to recreate new plastic, making it infinitely recycled. 

“This means we will never have to create plastic from virgin materials like fossil fuels again, and we can divert plastic from our oceans and landfill,” said Paul Riley, CEO and co-founder of Samsara. “This gives consumer brands the tools to continue using plastic with zero tradeoff.”

To support the initiative, Woolworths has committed to use the first 5000 tonnes of recycled Samsara plastic to produce packaging for its own-brand products.

Starting with packaging like the containers used for mini tomatoes, Samsara packaging is expected to hit Woolworths shelves within the next two years.

“By helping develop new sustainable technologies today, we can plant the seeds for a better tomorrow,” said Brad Banducci, CEO of Woolworths Group. “We’re working hard to reduce plastic, but we know there are some products where there simply aren’t effective alternatives.”

“As Australia’s largest retailer, we want to use our scale for good to drive innovation that can not only reduce our own footprint, but help our suppliers and competitors make positive change across the board.”

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