Even during the COVID-19, 70 per cent of Australians are continuing to rank taking care of the planet and making sustainable choices as important to them, according to research revealed by Woolworths Group for World Environment Day.
Woolworths has introduced a number of initiatives to further reduce plastic across a range of fruit and vegetables, including bananas, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, broccolini, sweet potatoes and organic apples.
By moving out of plastic clamshell and into adhesive tape for bananas, replacing rigid plastic trays with pulp fibre on tomatoes, moving to a paper tag on broccolini and reducing plastic film by 30 per cent in weight on carrots and potatoes, Woolworths has removed 237 tonnes of plastic packaging in the past year.
The tray Woolworths uses for its sweet potatoes and organic apples is now made of recycled cardboard, rather than plastic.
Woolworths has also commenced a trial of where it will switch plastic packaging in its Fresh Food Kids range of apples, pears and bananas to easy-to-recycle cardboard boxes.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said; “Something that was very surprising during COVID was the continued relevance of the environment, with 70 per cent of Australians saying that taking care of the planet and making sustainable choices remained important to them, even at the height of the crisis.
“While we’ve made pleasing progress in reducing the amount of plastic in our stores, supported recycling labelling initiatives, and made improvements in energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing and reducing food waste, we know there is still much more to be done to meet our customers and our own aspirations.” said Banducci.
Since Woolworths removed single-use plastic bags in 2018, more than 6 billion bags have been taken out of circulation. Earlier this week, W oolworths also started to offer paper shopping bags, made out of 70 per cent recycled paper, for customers to purchase to carry their shopping home in.
In the past year, approx 10,600 shopping trolleys worth of soft plastics have been recycled through its in-store RedCycle program. Woolworths also removed a total of 890 tonnes of plastic from its fruit, vegetables and bakery ranges over the past two years.
This means that all Woolworths stores now have food waste diversion partners in place and in the last year alone, the supermarket has diverted over 33,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill to our food relief partners or donated to farmers as feed stock.