Coles' big decision to stop selling controversial product line

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Coles will stop selling single-use plastic tableware products from July 1.

Removing the items, including plastic cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery, from supermarket shelves will divert 1.5 million kilograms of plastic from landfills annually, a Coles Group spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The move effects all Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express outlets and Coles Liquor stores.

Customers will instead be offered a range of reusable cutlery and tableware products.

Signage at a Coles supermarket in Sydney. Source: AAP
Coles will stop selling single-use plastic tableware products from July 1. Source: AAP

“Removing all single-use tableware from our stores is central to our ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket,” Coles CEO Steven Cain said.

“As a company, we already divert 79 per cent of our waste from landfill and have recycled more than 1 billion pieces of flexible plastic with the support of REDcycle and our customers, since 2011.”

The transition to reusable items will be complete by July 1 across the country.

Phasing out plastic will begin in South Australia by March 1 due to state legislation.

Coles' new reusable tableware. Source: Coles
Customers will instead be offered a range of reusable cutlery and tableware products. Source: Coles

“The Morrison Government is on a mission to reduce waste going to landfill in Australia, and we applaud Coles’ initiative to stop selling single-use plastic tableware products,” Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP, said.

Almost 19 per cent of plastic removed by Clean Up Australia volunteers last year were made up of single-use cutlery, straws and tableware.

“Too many of these items end up in our parks, waterways, beaches and roadsides and if left there damage our precious environment for hundreds of years, outliving all of us,” Clean Up Australia Chairman Pip Kiernan said.

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