News update: 50 more Woolworths stores scrapping plastic bags

 News update: 50 more Woolworths stores scrapping plastic bags

News update.

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Woolworths has announced that 50 stores will switch to being plastic-free by the end of April, in an effort to have no packaging waste in landfills. The retailer said it already has a plastic-free store in Malmesbury and the next store will be opened in Rustenburg. According to Woolworths, the retailer will no longer sell single-use plastic bags as it is part of its vision to steer towards zero packaging waste to landfill.

Speaking to BRO, the retailer said while it encouraged customers to bring and use reusable bags, they will also sell a recycled bag manufactured locally. The bag retails at R6.49. In 2018, Woolworths said it had been making “positive changes” in its stores by using less packaging, less plastic material in packaging, and ensuring that all their packaging is recyclable.

Woolworths’ head of foods: technology, food safety and sustainability, Latiefa Behardien, said: “These additional 52 stores based mainly in Gauteng and the Western Cape take us to over 200 single-use plastic bag-free stores in Southern Africa. A significant achievement at a time when we have had so many supply uncertainties.”

The retailer said they had replaced plastic packaging, with kraft packaging in popular “ripe and ready” avocados equating to an annual plastic saving of between 35 and 40 tons, the fruit covered with a fully recyclable shrink wrap.

“The recent roll-out of the new avocado packaging to all varieties sees the polystyrene plastic punnet replaced with a kraft box base made from 63% recycled paper,” said Behardien.

Behardien added that they were confident that the new packaging would deliver the functionality they need.

“Kraft board is an excellent packaging alternative to plastic in that it is 100% fully recyclable, biodegradable, Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC N002141) certified and locally sourced,” concluded Behardien.

The retailer said customers in the Western Cape might have noticed that the retailer is trialling a moisture-resistant kraft pot to replace the traditional plastic pot for their “Grow Your Own” herb range. “If the trial is successful, this shift could result in a 13.9-ton plastic reduction a year,” said Woolworths.

Chris Louw

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