Coles to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket

Coles has taken a step toward being Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, due to its commitments to continue reducing packaging and food waste as well as greenhouse emissions.

On World Environment Day on June 5, the supermarket giant announced its been one year since it unveiled Coles is driving generational sustainability part of the Group’s transformation strategy.

To date, Coles customers and team members have recycled 997 million pieces of soft plastic through REDCycle and donated grocery essentials to the retail value of $7.9 million to vulnerable Australians during COVID-19.

Chief Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve, who leads Coles’ sustainability strategy, said the Group’s efforts have been due to over 115,000 team members serving more than 20 million customers every week, who “have a material impact on our ability to implement sustainable practices in the communities in which we operate”.

“Whether it’s making a donation at the checkout to SecondBite or dropping off soft plastics at a Coles REDCycle bin, each one of our customers are helping achieve our mission to become the most sustainable supermarket in Australia,” Keeve said.

Over the past 12 months Coles has made further progress on its commitments to increase the proportion of energy it sources from renewables and implement more sustainable processes across its stores.

“By using energy more efficiently and investing in renewable energy projects, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 35 per cent since 2009, including a six per cent reduction in the 2019 financial year alone,” Keeve said.

Coles has installed solar panels on 38 supermarkets since June 2019, increasing the total number of on-site solar electricity generation facilities to 68, while construction has also commenced on three new solar power plants based in regional New South Wales, from which Coles will purchase the equivalent of 10 per cent of its national electricity consumption.

In the past two months Coles has also opened two of its most sustainable supermarkets with Coles Local in Melbourne’s Hawthorn and Sydney’s Rose Bay.

Coles said that these stores feature team member uniforms made from 65 per cent recycled bottles, trolleys made partly from recycled plastic and free reclaimed customer carry boxes as an alternative to bags.

Coles stated it plans to roll these sustainability initiatives to more of its stores over the coming months.

Related stories:

Coles partners with Cleanaway to convert waste into fuel

Coles has partnered with Cleanaway to recover energy from difficult to divert waste streams, at the Cleanaway ResourceCo Recovery Facility in New South Wales.

The partnership forms part of Coles’ zero waste to landfill supermarket trail, which aims to alter in-store processes, put greater focus on source separation and treat waste as a resource.

Coles Chief Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve said the trial would help Coles find new ways to reduce waste in stores.

“Waste management is a key component of the sustainability of any business, and reducing waste is a very important issue for our customers,” Mr Keeve said.

“Everyone knows Australia has challenges in how we deal with our waste. That goes for everyone from households sorting their recycling to businesses like Coles. We all have a responsibility to play our part.”

Mr Keeve said that by working with Cleanaway, Coles will be able to recover residual dry waste such as mixed plastic and timber, which historically has been difficult to divert from landfill.

“The Cleanaway ResourceCo Recovery facility uses dry waste to produce Process Engineered Fuel (PEF), which is then used to offset the demands of heavy industry for fossil fuels,” Mr Keeve said.

Cleanaway Solid Waste Services New South Wales Regional Manager Alex Hatherley said the process will provide a solution for Coles stores that produce high volumes of mixed back-of-house plastics.

“Our facility is unique in its ability to divert commercial dry waste from landfill, recover recyclable materials and then convert the remaining combustibles to a sustainable fuel source, PEF,” Mr Hatherley said.

Related stories:

X