Every year until 2020, we will achieve a year-on-year increase in tonnes of food waste diverted from landfill. This will be done through continuing reduction in stock loss, improving store waste management behaviour and improving the effectiveness of the farmers' program and the food rescue program.
There are significant social benefits from zero waste as the food rescue programs offer continued opportunities to contribute to communities. Our customers expect Woolworths to partner with the community to support food rescue, farmer and regional support. Our farmer and food rescue programs complement reducing our carbon footprint while also adding value to the communities in which we operate.
Australians are avid recyclers and our customers see it as our responsibility to enable them to play their part in protecting the environment by making our packaging recyclable. We, therefore, have a target to ‘Improve the recyclability of our Own Brand packaging and contribute to the circular economy’. Woolworths will decrease non-recyclable packaging and increase recycled content, for example, working towards the elimination of expanded polystyrene; integrating this requirement into packaging design specifications for each division by 2017 and progressively phasing out expanded polystyrene by 2020. We will also introduce clear, user-friendly recycling instructions.
Most of the products we sell are packaged in some way and can then have additional packaging to protect them during transportation, display or for the customer to carry home. Right along the supply chain, we need to work with our suppliers to make the packaging as efficient as possible without causing any damage to the product. We have the greatest level of control over the packaging of our own brand and exclusive products and this is where we are focusing our efforts to minimise waste.
Woolworths has several organic produce suppliers who have recently adopted recycled packaged and we have completed the total elimination of polystyrene trays from our produce organics supply network converting to compostable trays or recyclable plastic. We will continue to work with all of our suppliers to actively pursue packaging alternatives that reduce the amount of packaging or increasing its recyclability where possible.
Driven by our commitments to the Australian Packaging Covenant, our progress on packaging can be found here.
To play our part in reducing plastic bag use, we will remove single-use plastic bags across Woolworths Group in Australia and New Zealand - including Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores, Countdown, Big W, BWS and Online. Dan Murphy’s and Cellarmasters are already single-use plastic bag free.
Progressive Enterprises’ franchise supermarket brands, SuperValue and FreshChoice have also committed to phasing-out single-use plastic carrier bags as soon as they can, and are finalising the transition deadline.
The phased approach has become, with the aim to have it place across the entire Woolworths Group by end of FY18.
Customers will continue to have access to a range of alternative shopping bag options across the Woolworths Group network of stores. This includes thicker reusable versions at different price points to suit customer needs.