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Woolworths ban selling plastic straws and remove packaging from 80 fruit and veg products after backlash from customers

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4/06/2018 Cait Kelly

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Australia's supermarket giants have announced they will be reducing the level of plastic packaging in their stores after a huge backlash from customers.

In April almost 400,00 people signed a petition calling for Coles and Woolworths to 'Stop wrapping small portions of herbs, vegetables and fruit in plastic and Styrofoam.'

The move to reduce excess packaging comes as supermarkets across the country prepare to phase out plastic bays later this month © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The move to reduce excess packaging comes as supermarkets across the country prepare to phase out plastic bays later this month

Both supermarket giants have come under fire in the last year for excessively wrapping things like bananas, apples and sweet potatoes. 

a bunch of bananas on display in a store: Woolworths and Coles will reduce the levels of excess packaging in stores © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Woolworths and Coles will reduce the levels of excess packaging in stores In response to the mounting concern, Woolworths have announced they will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018 and will remove plastic packaging from a further 80 fruit and vegetable lines. 

The announcements come after public backlash over the level of plastic © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The announcements come after public backlash over the level of plastic a produce stand: The supermarkets have come under fire for packaging things like pairs (pictured) apples and grapes with a heavy plastic © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The supermarkets have come under fire for packaging things like pairs (pictured) apples and grapes with a heavy plastic

The change will apparently remove 134 million plastic straws from circulation each year.

'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% increase in Australians now saying that taking care of the planet is important to them,' Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said. 

The company has also vowed to have a food waste recycling partner at every store by the end of the year.  

On Monday, rival Coles also announced a set of commitments on packaging and recycling, including removing plastic wrapping from Coles brand bananas.

The company also pledged to halve food waste across its supermarkets by 2020. 

Environmental groups have welcomed the ban on plastics, saying it is a strong move in the right direction. 

Recently Woolworths was slammed for putting apple slices in plastic bags © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Recently Woolworths was slammed for putting apple slices in plastic bags a close up of food: The retailers has also come under fire for it's convenience range where fruits come prepackaged and ready to put in the oven © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The retailers has also come under fire for it's convenience range where fruits come prepackaged and ready to put in the oven

'This morning's announcement from Coles is a step in the right direction. There is no need to smother items like bananas, which already come in their own convenient packaging, in reams of plastic,' a spokesperson for Greenpeace told Daily mail Australia.  

a group of fruit on display in a store: Tomatoes also come in containers covered in plastic in both of the chain stores © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Tomatoes also come in containers covered in plastic in both of the chain stores 'Coles need to release detail on their timelines and the products involved but any move to cut out the use of single-use plastics which create waste is welcome and we would love to see other supermarkets follow suit.'   

Dr Rebecca Spindler, Bush Heritage's Science and Conservation executive Manager, says the decision is a really 'monumental step' not because of the waste it will reduce but because it shows how people can hold organisations to account.    

'The decision itself takes a step to using our resources more responsibly. We don't have to use that amount of plastic,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 

a variety of fruit on display in a store: The organic sections in both supermarkets also have fruits and vegetables packaged © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The organic sections in both supermarkets also have fruits and vegetables packaged a store filled with lots of different vegetables on display: The move to cut back on plastics has been welcomed by environmentalists who say it's a step in the right direction © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The move to cut back on plastics has been welcomed by environmentalists who say it's a step in the right direction

'But it's also fundamental because it's about people taking power to organisations and governments and creating change.' 

'It shows people can change the way organisations and governments work.'

'When they're making inefficient, wasteful, wrong decisions that aren't environmentally responsible we can do something about it.'

The move to reduce excess packaging comes as supermarkets across the country prepare to phase out plastic bays later this month.  

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