Coles shelves single-use plastic tableware products

Some of Coles' new reusable and single-use tableware range.
Some of Coles' new reusable and single-use tableware range.

Coles will remove all single-use plastic tableware products from their stores from July 1.

It means Coles will no longer sell single-use plastic cups, plates, bowls, straws and cutlery at Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express outlets and Coles Liquor stores. Customers will instead be offered a range of FSC certified tableware and reusable options.

Coles said the move will divert 1.5 million kilograms worth of single-use plastic from landfill each year. A recent Coles survey showed 65 per cent of customers were concerned about the environmental impacts of single use plastic tableware and prefer sustainable alternatives.

Coles chief executive Steven Cain said ensuring the sustainability of their business is "essential to our future success" as they aim to be "Australia's most sustainable supermarket."

"This important initiative will not only divert more than 1.5 million kilograms of plastic from landfill each year, it will also help our customers who are telling us they want to make more sustainable choices," 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."

Coles' current plastic tableware range will be phased out this year.

Coles' current plastic tableware range will be phased out this year.

When making the announcement, Mr Cain said they were the "first major Australian supermarket" to commit to removing all single-use plastic tableware.

An ALDI spokesperson said ALDI Australia stopped selling single use plastic tableware products in 2020.

"We congratulate Coles for following our lead and encourage all retailers to consider their impact on the environment," the spokesperson said.

Clean Up Australia Chairman Pip Kiernan said during 2020, Clean Up Australia volunteers came back saying 18.5 per cent of the plastic items removed through their efforts were single-use cups, plates, bowls, straws, stirrers and cutlery.

"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," she said.

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