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Coles bag drop reduces waste

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An innovative way to reduce plastic waste.

Coles Bag Drop

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To reduce landfill and save resources, Coles is collecting old reusable bags to turn into furniture for 100 Australian primary schools.

Reusable bags are optimal to plastic checkout bags as they help reduce the 200,000 plastic checkout bags that are being dumped into landfills every hour. But collecting too many of these reusable bags means they don’t all get used as often as they should.

Until 14 October, customers can bring their old or unwanted ‘green’ polypropylene bags to any Coles supermarket.

The campaign follows from the success of the first ever Coles Bag Drive in June, where over 37,000 bags were collected.

“The first Coles Bag Drive was extremely well received by customers and participating schools, and we’re looking forward to collecting thousands of bags again during our second bag drive in September,” said Stuart Machin, Coles’ Operations Director.

Australians use over 3.9 billion single-use plastic bags a year, or 10 million a day. Planet Ark says that only three per cent of Australia's plastic bags are currently being recycled, despite recycling facilities being readily available.

“As we continue to find practical ways to ensure these bags don’t find their way into landfill, customers can continue enjoying our range of reusable bag options knowing we have considered their end of life,” Mr Machin added.

At the end of the campaign, all the polypropylene bags will be sent to Victoria to a recycling company called Replas, who will convert the plastic waste into durable outdoor furniture for primary schools across Australia.
Coles will accept any bag made of polypropylene – and any colour – including shopping bags from other retailers and giveaway bags from conferences and exhibitions.

In another effort to reduce waste, this month Coles have introduced a sturdy biodegradable bag, made from plant fibres for $2.99. Since 2004, five cents from all reusable bags sold in their stores has been donated to Junior Landcare.

Plastic bags cannot be placed in council recycling bins. Recycling bins for single-use plastic bags are now permanent fixtures in Coles stores nationally.

To find out more about going plastic bag free, visit: http://plasticbags.planetark.org.