I try and do my bit for the environment and even embraced bringing my own bags to the supermarket (when I remember!). But I’m not exactly celebrating Coles’ decision to stop selling single-use plastic plates and cutlery in a move to cut down waste.
I’m totally supportive of reducing our landfill but I need a good alternative. Those ‘disposable’ plates, bowls, cups, forks, knives and spoons are an absolute saviour for kid’s parties, picnics and barbecues. When you’re running around after 20 toddlers, the last thing you want to do after a party is worry about washing up dishes.
What are we going to use instead now?
The supermarket giant has said that it will ban all single-use plastic cutlery and tableware from its shelves starting from July. They claim that this will remove 1.5 million kilograms of single-use plastic from landfill annually.
This move follows Aldi after the discount retailer stopped selling single-use plastic tableware products in 2020. We don’t think it’ll be long before Woolworths follows the trend (they have already ditched plastic straws).
Woolworths has previously indicated that they are developing sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic.
A Move Towards Sustainable Australia
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans celebrated the move.
“Every company that takes action to reduce problematic or unnecessary plastics takes us one step closer towards a more sustainable Australia and is a win for our environment,” he said.
Coles CEO Steven Cain said that “the sustainability of our business is essential to our future success.”.
Many Shoppers Want This!
The supermarket has said that this move is also a response to customer needs, saying a survey showed that 65 per cent of Coles shoppers are worried about the impact of single-use tableware on the environment.
But Many Shoppers Don’t!
However, not all customers are pleased with the ban.
“A PR scam putting the onus on the customer to consume less plastic while using huge amounts themselves daily,” said one critic on Facebook.
“If they’re going to do that then they should let people bring containers for deli products rather than always using disposable plastic containers,” said another.
“PR stunt that’s all it is. Look at all the bakery crap they put out all in single-use plastic containers, pallets of products are delivered every day wrapped in plastic, and they are worried about sustainability?”
“I recycle all my plastics so banning these and anything else only disadvantages those doing the right thing. Rather than ban, give us the option of renewable, biodegradable or recyclable whilst phasing out the petrochemicals. Where the heck is the bamboo and hemp products? This is just another token move to win over the vocal minority!”
“Noooo!!!! Better get things now before there’s nothing!”
When Is It Happening?
The phase-out of the single-use plastic items will be completed by 1 July 2021, while South Australia will take the lead, with all single-use plastic tableware out of SA stores by 1 March 2021, in line with state laws.
We predict there’s going to be a sudden rush on plastic tableware so people can stock up before they’re all gone.
What are your thoughts on Coles’ decision to phase out single use plastic tableware? Tell us in the comments below.