Coles using plastic marine waste to make shopping bags

Bags made with marine waste and recycled material reduce plastic production

23 May 2022

Customer shopping bags made with marine waste and recycled plastic are being rolled out to Coles supermarkets around the country as part of Coles’ Together to Zero waste ambition.

Coles’ Marine Reusable Shopping Bags are made with 80% recycled plastic, including 20% marine waste plastic. The marine waste plastic is recovered from ocean-feeding waterways and inland areas primarily within Malaysia. 

The bags support the delivery of Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets, specifically increasing the amount of recycled content.

Coles’ Chief Sustainability, Property and Export Officer Thinus Keevé said the new Coles bags reduced the need for virgin plastic while also removing waste from the environment.

“We’re proud to be providing practical and convenient shopping bags which make it easier for our customers to shop while supporting a circular economy for plastic bags and packaging,” Mr Keeve said. 

“We encourage our customers to reuse their bags as often as possible, but when they do reach the end of their useful life, these bags can be recycled through soft plastic collections in any our stores at the REDcycle drop off points.

“Coles and our customers have collected more than 2.3 billion pieces of soft plastic through REDcycle since 2011 and we plan to continue this journey to divert plastic packaging from landfill.” 

Coles will donate 10% from the sale of every Marine Reusable Shopping Bag to support Clean Up Australia’s Buy Recycled program.

Clean Up Australia Chair Pip Kiernan said the Coles Marine Reusable Shopping Bags was a great example of how recycled material can be used to create a circular economy solution to plastic waste.

“It’s great to see the recycled content Marine Reusable Shopping Bag available as an option for shoppers across the nation. It’s a clear demonstration of how material once considered waste has been used to create a useful, reusable bag,” she said.

“Coles and their customers have, since 2018, already played an important role in Clean Up efforts in communities across Australia through the provision of materials purchased from the proceeds of fundraising from reusable community bags and Coles Liquor's Drop of Good campaign.”

The new marine waste shopping bags are the latest in a series of sustainable product and packaging initiatives introduced by Coles.

Coles is also rolling out reusable mesh produce bags across the country for customers to purchase and reuse when buying fruit and veggies. The bags are made from 90% recycled material, helping customers reduce their need for single-use plastics while they shop.

Earlier this year, Coles also rolled out fresh produce bags made from 50% recycled plastic across its supermarkets. This initiative, along with improvements such as increasing the number of bags per roll and replacing plastic cylinders with cardboard, will reduce Coles’ use of virgin plastic by about 130 tonnes each year.

Other recent sustainability initiatives at Coles include: the introduction of home-compostable coffee pods; a range of beers brewed with unsold fruit and bread; and the removal of plastic measuring scoops from Coles Brand laundry powders. 

Coles Marine Waste shopping bags are available for 25c each at supermarkets in all states except WA.

Coles is rolling out marine waste shopping bags around the country. Shopper Julie is trialling the new bags at Coles Botanic Ridge in Victoria

Coles using plastic marine waste to make shopping bags

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