Coles takes green step forward in South Australia with compostable bags

New compostable bags now available in all Coles stores in South Australia. Image credit: Coles Group

Supermarket giant Coles announced it will be replacing single-use plastic bags with certified compostable bags in the fresh produce sections of all its South Australian stores in a bid to bolster sustainability efforts.

These new bags, crafted from renewable materials like corn starch, can be placed in green bins or used for home composting. 

In a single year, these bags are expected to eliminate 28 million plastic produce bags from circulation, the company said in a news release. 

The move precedes new statewide regulations banning plastic produce bags and aligns with South Australia’s mission to curb the use of environmentally harmful single-use plastics.

Coles Group Chief Operations and Sustainability Officer Matt Swindells expressed how this decision would reduce landfill waste and encourage better food waste recycling. 

“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.

He also emphasised that these compostable bags could also be repurposed in kitchen food waste caddies, reducing the need to purchase additional bags.

Acting Premier of South Australia and Environment Minister Susan Close commended Coles for offering an eco-friendly alternative for fresh produce bags. The bags, marked with the ‘Seedling logo,’ signify compliance with Australian compostability standards.

In addition to providing free compostable bags, Coles offers customers the option to purchase a three-pack of reusable mesh produce bags, which have been reduced in price from $3 to $1.50 as part of their ‘Great Value, Hands Down’ campaign. 

This initiative follows Coles’ recent removal of soft plastic bags both in-store and online, eliminating 230 million plastic bags from circulation in a year.

To further minimise problematic plastic packaging, Coles has expanded its Bring Your Own Container (BYOC) initiative to all South Australian stores. 

This allows customers to have selected Deli department products packed into their own containers, reducing home plastic waste.