Retailer to remove plastic fruit and vegetable bags ahead of state-wide regulation targeting single-use plastics

Coles announced it will be replacing single-use plastic bags with certified compostable bags in the fresh produce section of all its South Australian stores.

Coles makes the switch to compostable produce bags in South Australia

Coles makes the switch to compostable produce bags in South Australia

The new compostable bags made from renewable resources including corn starch can be placed in the council’s green bin or used in home compositing and will remove 28m plastic produce bags from circulation in one year.

The change comes into effect 12 months ahead of new state-wide regulation banning plastic produce bags, which forms part of South Australia’s push to eliminate the use of environmentally harmful single-use plastics. 

Coles Group chief operations and sustainability officer Matt Swindells said the decision to offer compostable bags in all 54 South Australian stores will help to reduce the amount of plastic going to landfill and help families recycle more food waste. 

“South Australia’s gold standard waste and recycling collection system has allowed us to take this positive step to offer our customers a compostable solution in fresh produce in all stores across the state,” said  Swindells,

“The advantage of these new compostable bags is that they can be disposed of in your green bin, or on your home compost heap, and will remove a total of 28 million plastic produce bags from circulation in just one year,”

“Our new compostable bag can also be reused in your kitchen food waste caddy, reducing the need to buy your own bags.

Acting Premier of South Australia and environment minister, Susan Close welcomed the change.

“We commend Coles for providing South Australian customers with an alternative fresh produce bag that will help divert waste from landfill and reduce the risk of plastic litter,” said Close.

“We’ve led the country when it comes to recycling and we’re proud to support organisations like Coles to implement positive changes like a move to compostable bags in all its South Australian stores.” 

Coles’ compostable bags are made from renewable resources including corn starch and carry the ‘Seedling logo’ which certifies that the compostability of the bags has been verified to the Australian standard. 

In addition to the free compostable bags, customers also have the option to purchase a three-pack of reusable mesh produce bags that have recently been reduced in price from A$3 to A$1.50 nationally as part of the new ‘Great Value, Hands Down’ campaign which launched in August. 

Today’s announcement follows Coles’ decision to remove soft plastic bags in-store and online from July which will remove 230m plastic bags from circulation in 1 year. 100% recycled paper bags that can be recycled kerbside are now available for purchase in-store for 25 cents, as well as a range of reusable tote and chiller bags.