Woolworths takes milestone in green packaging after cutting 9,000 tonnes of plastic


Monday, May 31, 2021: Woolworths has removed approximately 9,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from circulation over the past four years * as part of the transition of its entire private label range to recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2023.

The milestone comes ahead of World Environment Day on Saturday and is the result of a sustained effort to reduce plastic packaging in Woolworths in line with its 2025 sustainability plan.

The packaging has been changed on more than 550 products, which has seen nearly 800 tonnes of plastic removed from products, around 600 tonnes removed from baked goods and around 400 tonnes per year from milk bottles since 2018.

Woolworths’ sustainable packaging team is gradually working on the supermarket’s entire line of own-brand products and fresh produce to completely eliminate plastic packaging, reduce the volume of plastic used, increase the use of recycled materials or make packaging 100% recyclable.

Adrian Cullen, Head of Sustainability at Woolworths Supermarkets, said: “We know that the steps we take to become a more sustainable supermarket today will help create a better future for generations to come.

“More and more customers want to reduce their plastic consumption, and we have removed approximately 9,000 tonnes of plastic from our packaging over the past four years to make it easier for them to shop in a more sustainable way. To put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of 16 A380 planes.

“We are proud of the progress we have made in going greener, but we know there is still a long way to go and we will continue to make changes to cut the plastic in the products that our customers put in their shopping carts. purchase.

“Some plastic packaging is needed to preserve food and minimize food waste, so where we can’t eliminate it, we challenge ourselves to reduce it. We are also working to include more recycled plastic to minimize its impact. “

Some of the packaging changes that customers may already see at their local Woolworths include replacing plastic trays with pulp trays for a number of tomato varieties, replacing plastic labels on products with paper and paper meat trays for specially selected and grass-fed steaks from Woolworths.

Customers can expect to see more sustainable packaging changes as the supermarket steps up work to meet a series of commitments for its own-label packaging over the next few years, including:

  • 2023: 100 percent of own-brand packaging that is largely recyclable, reusable or compostable;

  • 2024: halve the use of new (blank) plastic packaging (by weight compared to 2018); and

  • 2025: Use an average of 60% recycled materials in packaging.

In addition, Woolworths has also phased out a number of single-use plastics by:

  • replacing high-tech cotton stems in plastic with paper and sugarcane stems across the range, which is expected to save nearly 500 million pieces of plastic per year;

  • become the first supermarket to stop selling plastic straws, removing over 280 million straws since 2018; and

  • elimination of single-use plastic bags across the country, a reduction of 9 billion bags in circulation since 2018.

In October of this year, Woolworths will also remove all single-use plastic tableware such as cutlery, mugs, plates and bowls from sale nationwide, which is expected to result in 1,700 tonnes of plastic in less per year.

To help divert household flexible plastic – which typically can’t be recycled in municipal curbside trash cans – from landfills, Woolworths offers flexible plastic recycling through its network of REDcycle collection bins, available at all stores. Since 2017, Woolworths’ REDcycle program has recycled 1.1 billion pieces of flexible plastic.

By creating a convenient recycling center for customers, Woolworths will also deploy collection bins for batteries and mobile phones in its 1,000 supermarkets in August.

/ Public publication. This material is from the original organization and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length.

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