We are working to have zero food waste diverted to 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, have set ourselves the target of making 100% of our own brand packaging widely recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2023 (New Zealand: by 2025) as we contribute to the circular economy’. Woolworths will work towards decreasing non-recyclable packaging and increase recycled content. 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 in store 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.
To achieve our goal of making packaging more sustainable, we’re committed to collaborating with our trading partners, government and industry to reduce waste and transition our business to a circular economy. We not only want to improve our own brand packaging but influence our whole value chain to explore more sustainable solutions. To this end, in F21, we launched the ‘Woolworths Group – Packaging Preferred Materials List and Format Guidelines’. Developed in consultation with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, we have shared it with our own brand and vendor branded suppliers to support their packaging plans by considering problematic and preferred packaging materials. The Guidelines provide a helpful tool as we work towards phasing out the hardest to recycle materials from all packaging by 2025 in line with the Australian Government’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.
Driven by our commitments to the Australian Packaging Covenant, our latest Sustainability Report, details our progress on packaging.
Microbeads are small, solid, manufactured plastic particles that don't degrade or desolve in water. All of our own brand products do not contain microbeads.
To play our part in reducing plastic bag use, we removed single-use plastic bags across Woolworths Group in Australia and New Zealand - including Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores, Countdown, and BIG W.
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.
Customers will continue to have access to a range of alternative shopping bag options across the Woolworths Group network of stores. This includes reusable versions at different price points to suit customer needs.