Woolworths, Coles join ANZPAC Plastic Pact to eliminate single-use packaging

Dozens of industry behemoths are joining forces to ramp up the war against plastic waste.

Leading retailers including Coles, Woolworths and consumer goods giant Unilever, are among businesses joining the ANZPAC Plastic Pact which will launch a new circular economy program on Tuesday designed to tackle the plastics crisis.

The major move will mark the first time industry giants, representing all stages of the supply chain, will come together to address the issue.

Those behind the pact say the cross-regional platform will work to transform retailers’ response to plastic by not only eliminating unnecessary plastic but ensuring the plastics used are recyclable, compostable, or able to be reused, keeping it in the economy and out of the environment.

Coca-Cola, Arnott’s and Nestle are among about 60 ANZPAC members who are committing to a series of ambitious plastic reduction targets including 100 per cent of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable, to eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging and to boost the amount of plastic collected and recycled by 25 per cent.

The goal is to achieve these targets by 2025.

For instance, Coles has committed to removing all single-use plastic tableware from its stores by July 1. And the way food products are packaged could change.

The supermarket giant is looking into advanced recycling which turns soft plastic, like bread bags and chip packets, back into oil in order to produce new soft plastic food packaging.

If nothing is done, by 2040 the amount of plastic on the market will have double and plastic entering the ocean will have almost tripled.

“As well as a growing problem, plastic is also fundamentally an international one. To tackle plastic waste effectively we need to find solutions that aren’t constrained by national borders or old ways of thinking,” CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Brooke Donnelly, said.

“Through the Plastics Pact model, we will bring together the complete plastic supply chain across the entire Oceania region, and working with our global partners through the Plastics Pact network, develop solutions that deliver real and tangible change to the plastic problem for our region.”

Several major supermarkets have responded to the move, including Aldi.

Corporate responsibility director at the German chain, Daniel baker, said Aldi is on track to achieve its goal of reducing plastic packaging by 25 per cent by 2025.

“We have been working with our business partners to remove single-use plastics, reduce the volume of packaging and source recycled materials,” he said.

Coles chief executive Greg Davis said the supermarket has launched a ‘Together to Zero’ sustainability strategy and “have an ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket”.

“As a founding member of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact, we now have an opportunity to build and shape meaningful change on plastic packaging and move towards a circular plastic economy as a global community,” he said.

Adrian Cullen, head of sustainability at Woolworths said pact is the first of its kind.

“(It’s an) opportunity for the entire industry and every level of the supply chain to rally around this challenge and collaborate on solutions that reduce plastic waste for the benefit of the environment and generations to come,” he said.

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