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Coles ditches plastic fruit and vegie bags in major trial

It's out with single-use plastic bags at Coles in Canberra, as the retailer trials a new program.

It's out with single-use plastic bags at Coles in Canberra, as the retailer trials a new program. Photo: Getty

Coles is ditching single-use plastic produce bags in some of its supermarkets as it trials a program encouraging customers to bring reusable options for their fruit and vegies.

The retailer will dump the single-use bags in a two-week Australian-first trial in ACT supermarkets next month, with a view to expanding it nationwide.

“This will be the first time a major Australian supermarket will trial a completely reusable method of helping customers purchase their fresh fruit and vegies,” Coles chief operations and sustainability officer Matt Swindells said on Wednesday.

“We will be looking closely at how our ACT customers respond. These insights will inform our consideration for potentially rolling this out to our customers nationally.”

He said the initiative was expected to reduce about 11 tonnes of plastic each year.

coles plastic bags

Reusable mesh bags will also be available in store for customers. Photo: Coles

As part of the trial, from August 31-September 13, ACT customers who spend $5 in store on fruit and vegies will receive a free three-pack of reusable mesh fresh produce bags made with 90 per cent recycled materials.

Single-use plastic fresh produce bags, also known as barrier bags, will then be removed from all 12 ACT Coles supermarkets from September 14.

Customers will be encouraged to bring reusable bags for their shopping, or will be able to buy reusable mesh fresh produce bags in store.

Coles recently rolled out fresh produce bags made with 50 per cent recycled plastic across Australia. They can be returned to major supermarkets’ recycling bins for soft plastic.

The retailer said it would continue to use plastic barrier bags in its delis and for online orders. Paper bags will also remain available in the produce department for customers to pack mushrooms.

“Under our Together to Zero waste ambition, we are always looking for ways to reduce reliance on unnecessary and problematic single-use plastics packaging and provide sustainable solutions to our customers,” Mr Swindells said.

The ACT trial follows Coles introducing a bigger range of recycled plastic shopping bags and removing plastic scoops from its laundry powders.

Topics: Coles
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