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Supermarkets step up to meet global plastic challenge on World Environment Day

Published: Tuesday, 5 June 2018

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THE HON JOSH FRYDENBERG MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy

MEDIA RELEASE

5 June 2018

SUPERMARKETS STEP UP TO MEET GLOBAL PLASTIC CHALLENGE ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

Australians used 5.66 billion single-use plastic bags last financial year. Some of which contributed to the 13 million tonnes of plastic which makes its way into our oceans each year, entangling or being eaten by marine life such as turtles, sea birds and whales.

That’s why this World Environment Day, I’m delighted our country’s largest supermarkets are taking robust action to phase out single-use plastic bags.

Coles has committed to phasing out single-use plastic bags as well as reducing plastic wrapping on fruit and vegies and to replacing meat and poultry product packaging with recycled and renewable materials.

Meanwhile, Woolworths has announced it will no longer provide single-use plastics bags for customers across their supermarkets while also planning to introduce a ban on plastic straws by the end of this year. This is on top of its commitment to remove plastic wrap from some of its fruit and vegies as well.

This means billions of these single-use plastic bags and other plastics will no longer take up space in landfill or harm our environment.

The Turnbull Government is also playing its part. We’re taking the lead with our state and territory colleagues to reduce Australia’s waste and increase demand for recyclable products.

We have already worked successfully with industry to phase out microbeads in rinse-off products and now 94 per cent of cosmetic and personal care products are microbead-free. The result is that billions of these tiny plastics no longer enter our oceans.

The Turnbull Government is also working to cut down on the amount of waste produced by ensuring that 100 per cent of Australian packaging will be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 or earlier.

While this World Environment Day is focused on plastic pollution, the Turnbull Government is also working to protect our natural environment in many other ways.

This includes ensuring our native flora and fauna are protected through our Threatened Species Strategy and National Landcare Program as well as making a record new commitment of $500 million for the protection and preservation of our Great Barrier Reef.

Ends

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