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Coles, Woolworths and Aldi

Woolworths to stop selling plastic straws, cut packaging from 80 more produce lines


The retailers on Monday committed to going further than their previous announcements to ditch single-use plastic bags in response to demands from consumers.

"We know that 69 percent of customers say that we need to actively reduce waste and landfill through recyclable packaging and find alternative uses for waste," Coles managing director John Durkan said on Monday.

Coles pledged to reduce plastic wrapping on fruit and veggies, including bunches of bananas, kale, and silverbeet, and replace meat and poultry product packaging with recycled and renewable materials.

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It set itself a deadline of 2020 to halve food waste from its supermarkets and make all packaging of its branded products recyclable
Greenpeace Australia welcomed the move by the retailers as a step in the right direction.

"Obviously Greenpeace would like to see a phase-out of all single-use plastics across-the-board because we know that plastics is a looming problem for our environment and our society," a spokesman told AAP.


"People are infuriated by this. You only have to do a search on social media and see people enraged by apples wrapped in plastic. Plastic bags are used on average for seven minutes and then last for hundreds of years."

Woolworths and Coles last July joined the push to rid Australia of disposable plastic bags, and set a deadline of June 30, 2018, for their stores to stop offering them to shoppers. Woolworths later brought forward that deadline to June 20.

The step-up in the campaign against waste by Coles and Woolies comes a week after the European Union outlined plans for a ban on single-use plastics including straws, cutlery, and cotton buds

Queensland and Western Australia area also introducing state-wide bans on single-use plastic bags on July 1, bringing them into line with the ACT, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania. While Victoria is poised to follow suit, NSW has refused to ban single-use plastic bags, arguing the moves by the supermarket chains will be enough to reduce plastic bag use.

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Christina Scotson