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Woolies promises to scrap plastic straws by the end of the year

Customer pressure has finally made Woolworths more environmentally conscious.

This week the Aussie supermarket giant announced that it will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018, a move that will take 134 million straws out of circulation.

In a statement, Woolworths group chief executive Brad Banducci said, “In the last year, we have seen a shift towards more sustainable attitudes from our customers and the momentum is growing, with recent research showing a 15 per cent increase in Australians now saying that taking care of the planet is important to them.”

“While we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of plastic in our stores, supported recycling labelling initiatives and made improvements in energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing and reducing food waste, we know that more needs to be done to meet our customers’ expectations.

“Today’s initiatives represent further small, but important, steps in our commitment to make positive change happen.

“We understand the journey towards a more sustainable future has its challenges, but together with our customers and industry partners we are committed to moving our business, our country and our planet towards a greener future.”

This is a big step for Woolies, considering last year they went over the top with their plastic use and were selling single potatoes wrapped in cling film.

Woolies will also begin having food waste recycling partners at all of their supermarkets by the end of the year.

While it sounds like a step in the right direction, these are mere baby steps for the truly earth-conscious among us, like Planet Ark’s head of operations, Marty Middlebrook.

He believes grocery stores should go one step further and start using only recycled products in packaging.

“The plastic and cardboard waste needs to be turned into something useful,” he says as reported by the ABC.

“We’ll know the consumer circle has been completed when we start to see ‘package made from recycled content’.”

While it might take a while before all packaging is made from recycled materials, Woolies is definitely taking a small step forward here.

The supermarket chain has also recently partnered with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) to help consumers understand recycling labels and dispose of them in the best way possible.

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