Big stores take aim at waste
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths are making changes in an effort to reduce landfill and water pollution.
Coles wants to halve food waste at its supermarkets over two years, and divert 90 per cent of all its waste from landfill by 2022.
The move is in response to surveys that showed 69 per cent of customers want waste reduced through recyclable packaging and other alternatives.
Meanwhile, Woolworths aims to stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018, and reduce plastic packaging due to similar pressure from environmentally-conscious customers.
It should see about 134 million plastic straws stopped from going into circulation each year.
Environment group Planet Ark has welcomed the moves, but wants the supermarket giants to go further.
“The plastic and cardboard waste needs to be turned into something useful,” Planet Ark head of operations Marty Middlebrook said.
“We'll know the consumer circle has been completed when we start to see 'package made from recycled content' … that would give the recycling industry a kick start that it hasn't had.”
Australians used about 844,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in 2015-16, but only 31 per cent of that was recycled.
Currently, only about 10 per cent of packaging comes from recycled product.