Pressure is mounting from consumer and environmental groups for retailers to affirm their commitment to phase out the use of single-use plastics, given the resurgence of products such as disposable coffee cups throughout the pandemic. of COVID-19.
Last week, the Australian Retailers Association said the federal government should come up with a national plan to phase out single-use items, noting that each state is taking a different approach to reducing the use of everything from shopping bags to plastic to take-out containers.
“Retailers understand the important role they have to play in the fight against plastic pollution, but the lack of a national approach makes phasing out single-use plastics more complex and costly than necessary and jeopardizes the effectiveness of change,” said chief executive Paul Zahra.
Woolworths’ sustainability targets include halving the use of new plastics in packaging by 2024 and ensuring its in-house brand packaging contains at least 60% recycled content by 2025.
Last month the company confirmed that it would phase out sales of its 15 cent reusable plastic bags in Woolworths and Big W stores over the next year.
The retailer has also invested in plastics recycling start-up Samsara, which uses enzymatic technology developed at the Australian National University to break down and recycle plastics in an “infinite loop”.
Supermarket giant Coles has also focused on reducing new plastic in its stores this year. It has rolled out reusable bags that use 80% recycled plastic, 20% of which comes from recycled marine litter.
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