Woolworths has removed approximately 9,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from circulation over the last four years as it works towards transitioning its entire Own Brand range to recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2023, the company said.
Its milestone comes in the lead up to World Environment Day on 5 June and is the company’s result of a sustained effort to reduce plastic packaging in line with its 2025 Sustainability Plan.
The packaging has been changed on more than 550 products, which has seen almost 800 tonnes of plastic removed from produce, around 600 tonnes removed from bakery products and approximately 400 tonnes yearly removed from milk bottles since 2018.
Woolworths said its sustainable packaging team is progressively working across the supermarket’s entire Own Brand range and fresh produce to either remove plastic packaging altogether, reduce the volume of plastic used, increase the use of recycled materials or make packaging 100 per cent recyclable.
Woolworths Supermarkets head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said, “We know the steps we take to become a more sustainable supermarket today will help create a better tomorrow for generations to come.
“More and more customers want to reduce their plastic use, and we’ve taken approximately 9,000 tonnes of plastic out of our packaging over the last four years to make it easier for them to shop more sustainably. To put this in perspective, it’s the equivalent weight of 16 A380 aircraft.
“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in going greener, but we know there’s plenty more to do and will continue to make changes to cut plastic in the products our customers put in their shopping baskets.
“Some plastic packaging is necessary to preserve food and minimise food waste, so where we can’t remove it, we’re challenging ourselves to reduce it. We’re also working to include more recycled plastic to minimise its impact.”
Some of the packaging changes customers can already see in their local Woolworths include replacing plastic trays with pulp trays for a number of tomato varieties, replacing plastic tags on produce with paper, and paper meat trays for Woolworths’ Specially Selected and Grass Fed steaks.
The company also said customers can expect to see more sustainable packaging changes as the supermarket accelerates work to meet a range of commitments for its Own Brand packaging over the coming years.