COLES has committed to reducing plastic waste by pulling single-use plastic tableware products from its shelves.
Plastic single-use items like cups, plates, straws and cutlery will not be sold from July.
The retailer said in a statement the move will divert 1.5-million kilograms worth of single-use plastic from landfill each year.
As an alternative, customers will be offered a range of Forest Stewardship Council certified tableware and reusable options.
The commitment applies to plastic single-use tableware products sold at Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express outlets and Coles Liquor stores – that’s more than 2,500 sites.
Coles CEO Steven Cain said Coles was committed to environmental leadership.
“Ensuring the sustainability of our business is essential to our future success and being the first major Australian supermarket to commit to removing all single-use plastic tableware from our stores is central to our ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket,” Mr Cain said.
“This important initiative will not only divert more than 1.5 million kilograms of plastic from landfill each year, it will also help our customers who are telling us they want to make more sustainable choices.”
“As a company, we already divert 79 per cent of our waste from landfill and have recycled more than 1 billion pieces of flexible plastic with the support of REDcycle and our customers, since 2011.”
Clean Up Australia Chairman Pip Kiernan said single-use plastic tableware was a big problem for the environment.
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“During 2020, Clean Up Australia volunteers told us that 18.5 per cent of the plastic items removed through their efforts were single-use cups, plates, bowls, straws, stirrers and cutlery,” she said.
“Too many of these items end up in our parks, waterways, beaches and roadsides and if left there damage our precious environment for hundreds of years, outliving all of us.”
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans lauded Coles.
“Every company that takes action to reduce problematic or unnecessary plastics, takes us one step closer towards a more sustainable Australia and is a win for our environment,” he said.