Woolworths makes drastic change after barrage of complaints

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

Woolworths has announced another significant step in its bid to reduce plastic packaging across its stores.

Among a range of changes to remove plastic from its fresh produce is the supermarket giant’s trial to completely remove plastic packaging from its packaged fruit for kids and switch to a recyclable cardboard box.

In other initiatives introduced by the store, broccolini tags are now paper, plastic film has been reduced by 30 per cent on carrots and potatoes, and plastic trays inside packaged sweet potatoes, tomatoes and apples have been replaced with pulp fibre or cardboard alternatives.

Woolworths new fruit boxes next to its old plastic packaging. Source: Woolworths

Shoppers have long called on the supermarket to reduce its plastic packaging in store, and new Woolworths research reveals 70 per cent of customers are still pushing for sustainable options in store despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“Woolworths remains as committed as ever to creating a greener future,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said.

And while Woolworths has been heavily criticised in the past for its reluctance to change its plastic output across its stores, the supermarket has over the last year ramped up its commitment to a greener future.

Earlier this week, Woolworths announced it would be providing customers with an option to purchase paper bags at checkouts for 20 cents.

And in response to widespread criticism Woolworths and Coles faced over plastic waste in their promotional collectable ranges, Woolworths was praised for its shift to a more environmentally-friendly offering in its Discovery Garden range.

Plastic trays have been removed from apple packaging as well. Source: Woolworths
Broccolini tags are now paper. Source: Woolworths

Woolworths claims to have removed a further 237 tonnes of plastic packaging in the last year and is committed to going even further.

“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,” Mr Banducci said.

Leading supermarkets have come under intense scrutiny regarding plastics following the landmark decision to remove single-use plastic bags in 2018.

Woolworth says it has removed six million bags from circulation however has repeatedly declined to reveal how many reusable bags have been sold since the switch, prompting experts to suggest more plastic has in fact been distributed annually than before.

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