WOOLWORTHS has announced a raft of measures to combat plastic consumption including ceasing the sale of plastic straws and minimising plastic coverings on produce.
All Woolworths stores will no longer be selling plastic straws by the end of the year, saving 134 million plastic straws from polluting the environment.
Plastic packaging on 80 fruit and vegetable products will also be phased out, to further save on the 140 tonnes of plastic already removed from Woolies produce.
By the end of 2018 Woolworths will have a food waste diversion partner, and by the end of June, there will be a plastic recycling option for customers in-store.
Woolworths is partnering with REDcycle (a closed loop recycling solution) where customers can return soft plastics used to package produce and groceries.
These plastics will then be used to create benches, bollards etc. that will be used at Woollies stores.
In an e-mail to Woolworths customers, chief executive officer Brad Banducci said it was time the company went “even greener”.
“We understand that this journey has challenges, and that being green is not easy, but together with you - our customers, we're determined to make positive change happen; to move our country and our planet towards a greener future,” he said.
Annually in Australia, up to 2.47 billion plastic straws end up in landfill, becoming choking hazards for animals.
Eight million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean each year, and 1580kg ends up in Australia’s oceans every hour.
Woolworths stores in South Australia no longer use single-use plastic bags, and after June 20 this will be a policy for all stores nationally.
Woolworths also collects reusable green bags, single use bags, biscuit wrap, and frozen food bags.
As these items can’t be placed in individual’s yellow bins, when they’re recycled in-store they’re turned into furniture and equipment.