• Coles is rolling out marine waste shopping bags around the country.
    Coles is rolling out marine waste shopping bags around the country.
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Coles latest Together to Zero sustainability initiative is the launch of shopping bags made from marine waste and recycled plastic, reducing the need for virgin plastic.

Coles’ marine reusable shopping bags are made with 80 per cent recycled plastic, which inlcudes 20 per cent marine waste plastic. The marine waste plastic is mainly from Malaysia and recovered from ocean-feeding waterways and inland areas.

Coles said the bags support the delivery of Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets, specifically increasing the amount of recycled content. It will also donate 10 per cent from the sale of every marine reusable shopping bag to support Clean Up Australia’s Buy Recycled program.

Coles chief sustainability, property and export officer Thinus Keevé said the new bags reduced the need for virgin plastic while also removing waste from the environment.

“We’re proud to be providing practical and convenient shopping bags which make it easier for our customers to shop 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 do reach the end of their useful life, these bags can be recycled through soft plastic collections in any our stores at the REDcycle drop off points.

“Coles and our customers have collected more than 2.3 billion pieces of soft plastic through REDcycle since 2011 and we plan to continue this journey to divert plastic packaging from landfill.”

Clean Up Australia chair Pip Kiernan said the marine reusable shopping bags were an example of how recycled material 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 nation. It’s a clear demonstration of how material once considered waste has 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 purchase and reuse when buying fruit and veggies. The bags are made from 90 per cent recycled material, helping customers reduce their need for single-use plastics while they shop.

Earlier this year, Coles also rolled out fresh produce bags made from 50 per cent recycled plastic across 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 about 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 scoops from Coles Brand laundry powders.

Coles marine waste shopping bags are available for 25c each at supermarkets in all states except Western Australia.

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