Together to zero waste

Environment Policy

We recognise the role we can play in reducing food waste and packaging, reflecting customers’ needs while making our operations more sustainable and efficient. By working with industry partners, suppliers and customers we aim to increase food security, reduce waste and overall, conserve our valuable resources.

Coles is committed to doing business in an environmentally responsible manner as detailed in our Environment PolicyOpens in new window .

Minimise food waste

During FY21, we announced our new target for the entire Coles Group to divert 85% of waste from landfill by FY25, while continuing our focus on reducing food waste. In FY20, we diverted 79% of the Group’s waste from landfill, compared with 74% diversion in FY19. This improvement primarily resulted from our focus on managing food waste.

As a food retailer, we love food and do not want it to go to waste. Every Coles supermarket and distribution centre is connected with a food waste solution, something we first achieved at the end of FY19. Our first choice for unsold, edible food is to donate it to food rescue organisations. Following that, we have other food waste solutions including donation to farmers and animal or wildlife services, organics collections and in-store food waste disposal equipment.

We partner with food rescue organisation SecondBite which collects unsold, edible food either directly from our supermarkets or organises for local charities to collect it on its behalf. In addition to collecting and redistributing food from our stores, SecondBite also collects food from our fresh and chilled distribution centres.

We also partner with Foodbank which collects from our grocery distribution centres across Australia.

We work with our Australian suppliers to reduce food waste and increase overall crop yields by using produce, which typically would not be sold in stores, in other products such as Own Brand zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, sweet potato chips, and broccoli and cauliflower rice, as well as the Own Brand range of banana-based products.

Our range of I’m Perfect fruit and vegetables celebrates produce that tastes great but may be flawed in appearance. The products are not only excellent value but also help to reduce food waste.

Support a circular economy

In conjunction with REDcycle, we offer a soft plastic recycling program in all Coles supermarkets nationally. We were the first major Australian supermarket to roll out the program to all stores.

Customers can recycle plastic bags as well as a wide range of other soft plastic packaging that cannot be recycled through most household kerbside recycling services.

Coles Online customers can give their soft plastics to their customer service agent who will return it for recycling through REDcycle.
Since the REDcycle program began in 2011, Coles has diverted more than one billion pieces (4,300 tonnes) of flexible plastic from landfill across Australia. (as of end of FY20).

Sustainable packaging

We understand our customers want us to reduce packaging and to make it easier for them to recycle. We also know that packaging, including plastic packaging, plays a key role in protecting products during transport, extending product life, keeping food safe and reducing food waste.

Coles is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant and an active member of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), tasked with delivering the federal government’s 2025 National Packaging Targets. Our performance against the APCO Packaging Sustainability Framework can be found here .

When developing packaging for Own Brand products, including non-food, grocery, chilled and fresh produce, we are aligned with APCO’s Sustainable Packaging Guidelines

We are continuing work to have all Own Brand product packaging recyclable either through kerbside collection or in-store through the REDcycle soft plastics program operating in all Coles supermarkets.

Knowing what packaging is recyclable and how to recycle can be confusing. We are striving to roll out the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) for Own Brand products sold in Coles supermarkets. The ARL provides customers with information on how and where to recycle different packaging components.

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