Coles: Marine litter is in the bag

Coles’ latest sustainability initiative, Together to Zero, is the launch of shopping bags made from marine litter and recycled plastic, reducing the need for virgin plastic.

Coles Marine Reusable Shopping Bags are made with 80% recycled plastic, 20% of which is marine litter. Marine plastic litter comes mainly from Malaysia and is recovered from waterways and inland areas that feed the oceans.

Coles said the bags support the achievement of Australia’s national packaging targets for 2025, specifically by increasing the amount of recycled content. It will also donate 10% of the sale of each marine reusable shopping bag to support Clean Up Australia’s Buy Recycled programme.

Thinus Keevé, director of sustainability, property and exports at Coles, said the new bags reduce the need for virgin plastic while eliminating waste from the environment.

“We pride ourselves on providing convenient and practical shopping bags that make shopping easier for our customers while supporting a circular economy for plastic bags and packaging,” Keevé said.

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

“Coles and our customers have collected over 2.3 billion pieces of flexible plastic through REDcycle since 2011 and we plan to continue this journey to divert plastic packaging from landfills.”

Clean Up Australia chairman Pip Kiernan said reusable marine shopping bags were an example of how recycled materials can be used to create a circular economy solution to plastic waste.

“It’s great to see the recycled content bag available as an option for shoppers across the country. It’s a clear demonstration of how materials once considered waste have been used to create a useful, reusable bag,” Kiernan said.

Coles is also rolling out reusable mesh produce bags across the country for customers to buy and reuse when shopping for fruits and vegetables. The bags are made from 90% recycled material, helping customers reduce their need for single-use plastic when shopping.

Earlier this year, Coles also rolled out fresh produce bags made from 50% recycled plastic in its supermarkets. This initiative, along with improvements such as increasing the number of bags per roll and replacing plastic cylinders with cardboard, will reduce Coles’ use of virgin plastic by around 130 tonnes each year.

Other recent sustainability initiatives at Coles include: the introduction of home compostable coffee pods; a range of beers brewed with unsold fruit and bread; carbon neutral beef; and the removal of plastic measuring spoons from Coles brand laundry powders.

Coles marine litter shopping bags are available for 25c each from supermarkets in every state except Western Australia.

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