Coles uses plastic marine waste to create its shopping bags

This article first appeared in Convenience and Impulse Retailing, authored by Tom Oakley-Newell

Shopping bags made using marine waste and recycled plastic are being rolled out to Coles supermarkets across Australia.

The bags are made using 80 per cent recycled plastic, including 20 per cent marine plastic waste recovered from ocean-feeding waterways and inland areas primarily within Malaysia.

Thinus Keevé, Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer at Coles, said they’re proud to be providing practical and convenient shopping bags which make it easier for its customers to shop, while supporting a circular economy for plastic bags and packaging.

“We encourage our customers to reuse their bags as often as possible, but when they do reach the end of their useful life, these bags can be recycled through soft plastic collections in any our stores at the REDcycle drop off points.

Keevé said that Coles and its customers have collected more than 2.3 billion pieces of soft plastic through REDcycle since 2011 and plan to continue doing so.

The bags support the delivery of Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets, and Coles will also donate 10 per cent from the sale of every Marine Reusable Shopping Bag to support Clean Up Australia’s Buy Recycled program.

Pip Kiernan, Chair of Clean Up Australia, said the bags were a great example of how recycled material can be used to create a circular economy solution to plastic waste.

“It’s great to see the recycled content Marine Reusable Shopping Bag available as an option for shoppers across the nation. It’s a clear demonstration of how material once considered waste has been used to create a useful, reusable bag.

“Coles and their customers have, since 2018, already played an important role in Clean Up efforts in communities across Australia through the provision of materials purchased from the proceeds of fundraising from reusable community bags and Coles Liquor’s Drop of Good campaign.”

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