Woolies considers widespread plastic ban
Major supermarket group Woolworths is considering banning the use of plastics with all fruit and vegetable packages and bags depending on a trial in its New Zealand division.
The group's chain across the ditch, Countdown, has removed plastic packaging and single-use bags in the major aisles at three stores, instead offering paper and biodegradable alternatives.
The 10-week trial will ensure 65 products will be unwrapped and comes after widespread frustration at the use of plastic packaging as well as collectable campaigns such as Ooshies.
"Like all Kiwis, we are incredibly passionate about the environment and reducing the amount of plastic and packaging in our produce section is something we, along with our customers, are keen to see," Countdown sustainability chief Kiri Hannifin said.
"As part of 'unwrapped' we want to test whether the changes we're making can be sustained over the long-term and in a way that delivers better outcomes for our environment here."
Ms Hannifin said the supermarket division had invested in new shelving, packaging and production changes but was mindful the change could create bigger issues elsewhere in the business.
"For example, without packaging some products might deteriorate far faster, causing food waste," she said. "That's something we absolutely want to avoid because of the detrimental impact food waste can have on the environment.
"We don't want to replace one issue with another and as such we need to monitor food waste very closely."
A Woolworths spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au the Australian group was keeping an eye on the trial with the consideration of implementing the changes locally.
"We're committed to reducing our environmental footprint across the Woolworths Group," the company said.
"We'll closely monitor the results from the 10 week trial in our New Zealand supermarkets before determining our next steps with this initiative."