Woolworths Benalla is launching a number of sustainability initiatives along with its move away from single-use plastic bags to more environmentally sustainable solutions.
This follows an announcement made by Woolworths Group chief executive officer Brad Banducci on the eve of World Environment Day at an industry sustainability event hosted by the company.
With the removal of single-use plastic shopping bags from June 20, Woolworths Benalla is changing its popular green, reusable bags available for customers to purchase in store to a ‘‘Bag for Good’’.
Plastic straws will also no longer be available for sale at Woolworths Benalla by the end of this year.
Woolworths Benalla store manager Leigh Harman said the Bag for Good cost 99¢ and when it got damaged the store would replace it for free, no matter when you purchased it.
‘‘We’ll then recycle your old bag via the REDCycle program,’’ Mr Harman said.
‘‘Any money made from the sale of the Woolworths Bag for Good will fund the Junior Landcare grants program, encouraging young Australians to play an active role in ensuring the sustainable future of their environment.’’
Landcare Australia chief executive officer Shane Norrish said the Woolworths Junior Landcare program would help younger Australians to be more aware of environmental issues in their own backyard.
‘‘They will have the opportunity to have hands-on environmental education in the class and in the schoolyard, which will only help to better future generations,’’ Dr Norrish said.
‘‘We look forward to seeing applications from schools in the local area when the next grant round is launched in a couple of months’ time.’’
Mr Harman said it had been well documented that plastic straws did significant harm to marine wildlife and this move would help reduce the impact of plastics on the marine environment.
‘‘Across Australia and New Zealand this move will see us remove 134 million straws from circulation each year,’’ Mr Harman said.
Woolworths will also continue its ongoing program of plastic reduction in fruit and vegetables, which has seen the removal of 140 tonnes of plastic in the past year in Australia.
A further 80 produce items are earmarked for plastic reduction trials in the next 12 months.
Planet Ark chief executive officer Paul Klymenko said Woolworths was taking big strides in the right direction and the butterfly effect of these initiatives on the community and environment was powerful.
‘‘Cutting down on single-use plastic waste, such as straws, is so important — businesses getting behind this is key, but as an individual, you can also make a difference by switching to reusable or recyclable options,’’ Mr Klymenko said.