Coles to turf single-use plastic tableware in line with EU environmental ban

COLES will phase out single-use plastic tableware products including cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery.

OUT THEY GO: Coles will get rid of wasteful single-use plastic items like straws and cultery. The EU will ban single-use plastics like straws, forks and knives from 2021.

OUT THEY GO: Coles will get rid of wasteful single-use plastic items like straws and cultery. The EU will ban single-use plastics like straws, forks and knives from 2021.

None will be sold past July 1 and it will divert 1.5 million kilograms worth of single-use plastic from landfill each year.

As an alternative to single-use plastic, customers will instead be offered a range of certified tableware and reusable options.

The commitment applies to plastic single-use tableware products sold at Coles supermarkets, Coles Express outlets, and Coles Liquor stores - more than 2500 sites.

Coles chief executive Steven Cain said a customer survey found that 65 per cent of customers were concerned about the impacts of plastics and wanted sustainable alternatives.

A TIP FROM PIP: Pip Kiernan and former rugby league player Andrew Ettingshausen with a little rubbish.

A TIP FROM PIP: Pip Kiernan and former rugby league player Andrew Ettingshausen with a little rubbish.

"Ensuring the sustainability of our business is essential to our future success," Mr Cain said.

"... As a company, we already divert 79 per cent of our waste from landfill and have recycled more than 1 billion pieces of flexible plastic with the support of REDcycle and our customers, since 2011."

Clean Up Australia chairman Pip Kiernan said single-use plastic tableware was a big problem for the environment.

"During 2020, Clean Up Australia volunteers told us that 18.5 per cent of the plastic items removed through their efforts were single-use cups, plates, bowls, straws, stirrers and cutlery," she said.

"Too many of these items end up in our parks, waterways, beaches and roadsides and if left there damage our precious environment for hundreds of years, outliving all of us."

"We applaud Coles for listening to their customers and taking the lead in replacing these single use plastic items."

Assistant waste reduction minister Trevor Evans said the federal government wanted to cut waste going to landfill.

"Every company that takes action to reduce problematic or unnecessary plastics, takes us one step closer towards a more sustainable Australia and is a win for our environment," he said.

*The phase-out across Coles Group outlets will be complete by 1 July 2021, with stores in South Australia phasing out the legislated single-use plastic tableware by 1 March 2021, in line with South Australian law."