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Coles removes single-use plastic tableware from shelves

From today, the aisles of more than 2,500 Coles supermarkets, Express and Liquor stores around the country will be transformed, with single-use plastic tableware now off the shelf.  The move will divert 1.5 million kilograms worth of single-use plastic from landfill each year.

The removal of single-use plastic tableware comes as Coles Group today released its Coles’ Sustainability Strategy, setting out its plans to work with customers, suppliers, team members and the community to achieve its ambitions centred around the two pillars of “Together to Zero” and “Better Together”.

In February, Coles Group committed to no longer sell single-use plastic tableware including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery in any of its stores from 1 July 2021.

The items have now been replaced with a wide range of alternatives including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified tableware like timber cutlery and paper plates and reusable options.

Pip Kiernan, chairman of Clean Up Australia, said the organisation knows this is the change the community wants to see.

Read more: Coles onboard to tackle waste

“Earlier this year we surveyed 9,000 of our Clean Up Australia volunteers and 95 per cent of them were strongly supportive of the phasing out of problematic single use plastics. It’s heartening to see Coles making impactful changes to reduce waste to landfill and providing customers with options that are kinder on the planet,” she said.

“These items are not recyclable, they are designed to be used once and discarded, going to landfill and many ending up in our environment as litter. Last year our volunteers reported that over half of all items they collected were plastic or contained plastic,” she said.

The Coles Group Sustainability Strategy is aligned with and supports the achievement of nine of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) including zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water and life on land.