Woolworths' green packaging goals for its home brand

Monday, 31 May, 2021

Woolworths' green packaging goals for its home brand

Woolworths has removed approximately 9000 tonnes of plastic packaging from circulation over the last four years* as it works towards transitioning its entire Own Brand range to recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2023 — which is in line with its 2025 Sustainability Plan.

The packaging has been changed on more than 550 products, which has seen almost 800 tonnes of plastic removed from produce, around 600 tonnes removed from bakery products and approximately 400 tonnes yearly removed from milk bottles since 2018.

Woolworths’ sustainable packaging team are progressively working across the supermarket’s entire Own Brand range and fresh produce to either remove plastic packaging altogether, reduce the volume of plastic used, increase the use of recycled materials or make packaging 100% recyclable.

Woolworths Supermarkets Head of Sustainability Adrian Cullen said: “Some plastic packaging is necessary to preserve food and minimise food waste, so where we can’t remove it, we’re challenging ourselves to reduce it. We’re also working to include more recycled plastic to minimise its impact.”

Some examples of packaging changes implemented at Woolworths include replacing plastic trays with pulp trays for a number of tomato varieties, replacing plastic tags on produce with paper, and paper meat trays.

Future sustainable packaging goals for its Own Brand packaging over the coming years include:

  • 2023: 100% of Own Brand packaging widely recyclable, reusable or compostable
  • 2024: Halve the use of new (virgin) plastic packaging (by weight against a 2018 baseline)
  • 2025: Use an average of 60% recycled material in packaging

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

  • replacing plastic cotton tip stems with paper and sugarcane stems across the range, which is expected to save almost 500 million pieces of plastic yearly;
  • no longer selling plastic straws, removing over 280 million straws since 2018; and
  • removing single-use plastic shopping bags nationwide, resulting in a reduction of 9 billion bags in circulation since 2018.

In October this year Woolworths will also remove all single-use plastic tableware like cutlery, cups, plates and bowls from sale nationwide, which is expected to result in 1700 tonnes less plastic yearly.

To help divert household soft plastic from landfill, Woolworths provides soft plastic recycling through its network of REDcycle collection bins. It also plans to roll out battery and mobile phone collection bins in its stores by August.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/New Africa

*Plastic reduction calculated based on sales volumes, approximately forecast based on the volume of sales the year prior to packaging improvements being implemented.

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