NSW Greens Fair Trading and Marine Environment spokesperson Justin Field has welcomed today’s announcement by Coles and Woolworths of measures to reduce plastic-wrapped produce following ongoing pressure from the community.
Coles has pledged to reduce plastic wrap on fruit and vegetables, including bunches of bananas, and replace meat and poultry product packaging with recycled and renewable materials. Coles will also aim at halving food waste from its supermarkets and making all packaging of its branded products recyclable by 2020.
Woolworths will stop selling plastic straws and enter into a partnership with a food waste recycler by the end of the year, and expands its selection of fruit and vegetables not wrapped in plastic.
Greens NSW Marine spokesperson Justin Field said the two major Australian supermarkets had responded to growing community demand for reducing plastic waste, now it is time for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to act.
“Today’s announcements by Woolworths and Coles is a response to community campaigns such as Boomerang Bags, Plastic Free July, Take 3 for the Sea and thousands of social media petitions and actions. It shows an unstoppable momentum to reduce plastic waste and its deadly impact on whales, seabirds and other marine life when it makes its way into the ocean,” he said today.
“Wrapping bananas and avocados in plastic has always been a terrible wasteful. Nature puts fruit and vegetables in their own packaging ready to eat. The tide has turned and the community has rejected the wasteful consumption of unnecessary single-use plastics.
“Meanwhile the NSW Government is lagging behind other states and the rest of the world in a legislation to act on plastic pollution and banning single-use plastic bags.
“The Premier and her government continue to ignore the rising tide of plastic is choking our oceans and marine life, polluting our rivers and impacting our health and that of future generations.
“We can do more to clean up our precious natural environment and stop plastic pollution,” he said.
Last week, the European Union announced it will introduce a ban on the 10 most polluting single-use plastic products such as plastic straws, cutlery, plates and cotton buds.
“The Greens call on the Premier to reduce marine pollution by getting single-use plastic products such as plastic bags, straws, plates and bottles out of circulation.
“I’ve recently returned from Lord Howe Island where baby flesh-footed shearwaters are being mistakenly fed our plastic waste by their parents, leading to developmental problems and the death of many juveniles.
“Scientists often find dozens of pieces of plastic in the stomachs of birds, including bottle tops and balloon ties. It’s heartbreaking to know that our waste is causing the death of up to 10% of young Shearwaters.
“A year out from the State Election, now is the time for action on plastic pollution and introducing new laws that put an end to single use plastics, especially plastic bags, straws and bottles, ” Mr Field said.