Woolworths will remove plastic bags from 121 stores across SA

Posted by Imogen Searra on 26 October 2020

Woolworths has announced that 121 of its stores in South Africa will no longer be offering consumers plastic bags upon checkout from November 9, 2020.

Shoppers will either need to bring along their own bags or purchase reusable bags in store.

The group’s ultimate goal is to have zero packaging waste-to-landfill by 2022 and for all packing to be recyclable or reusable.

In a statement the company said: ‘In our drive to find effective solutions for more sustainable packaging, we’re proud to say that we’ve pioneered several firsts. That’s because we’re constantly working with our suppliers, our technologists, recyclers (collectors, material converters, etc.), producer responsibility organisations and other industry bodies and experts in the field to find the best way forward for us, our customers, our communities and the planet.

‘Woolworths is dedicated to reducing our packaging environmental footprint and developing solutions that are applicable to South Africa. Going forward, we will provide updates and progress in terms of milestones accomplished, how we are tracking and any other news regarding our journey.’

To reach their goal of ensuring all packaging is recyclable by 2022 Woolworths has implemented certain changes, including:

  • using less packaging
  • using less material for our packaging, and
  • ensuring that all out packaging is recyclable in South Africa.

Several in-store trials are currently underway at selected Woolworths stores in order to engage customers on the new plastic reduction efforts, including:

  • Wooden cutlery and paper straws are being rolled out in NowNow and WCafes with a view to phase out plastic cutlery and straws completely.
  • Plastic straws are no longer available for purchase in store.
  • Paper-stemmed earbuds will be on the shelves by the end of October and plastic ear buds will no longer be sold in store.
  • A pilot coffee cup recycling programme is currently underway in NowNow stores, with a view to rolling out nationally.
  • The retailer is trialling reverse recycling vending machines, where customers can bring in their recyclables and put them into the vending machine so that they can be recycled.
  • Woolworths is also trialling a new range of affordable reusable shopping bags.

Many key milestones have already been reached in this plastic reduction and recycling journey:

  • Woolworths has already successfully light-weighted and reduced their packaging by almost 700 tonnes to date. This means that the retailer has been able to reduce the amount of plastic used in its packaging while still maintaining food integrity and preventing food waste.
  • Woolworths was also the first retailer in SA to launch On Pack Recycling Labelling that clearly communicated the recyclability of the packaging.
  • Woolworths was the first retailer in South Africa to launch a plant-based plastic milk bottle in 2016.
  • Woolworths was the first major South African retailer to use recycled PET (rPET) in juice bottles and to incorporate recycled PET bottles into their packaging.
  • Woolworths uses up to 50% post-consumer recycled content in more than 600 products lines.
  • Woolworths was the first major retailer in South Africa to remove all plastic micro-beads from own-brand beauty and bath products.
  • After working closely with recyclers, Woolworths recently successfully trialed recycling their PET salad trays into fabric for the automobile industry. This is a great example of where Woolworths is striving to ensure a circular economy.

In addition to the 121 stores phasing out plastic bags, 29 stores have already done so. Woolworth has 452 food stores and 279 fashion, beauty and home stores across South Africa.

The full list of stores that will be plastic-bag free are:

Gauteng Stores

  • Moreleta Village (Already in effect)
  • Maroun Square (Already in effect)
  • Sandton City (Already in effect)
  • Nicolway (Already in effect)
  • Melrose Arch (Already in effect)
  • Rosebank (Already in effect)
  • Mooiriver Junction (New) (Already in effect)
  • Parkview Kimiad (Already in effect)
  • Eastgate Jhb (Already in effect)
  • Douglasdale Jhb
  • Blubird Centre Jhb
  • Morningsidewedge
  • Hyde Park
  • Graystone
  • Morningside Shopping
  • Benmore Gardens
  • Discovery Corporate
  • Cantebury Crossing
  • Bryanston
  • Blue Hills
  • Blackheath
  • Crowthorne Jhb
  • Bryan Park
  • Westways
  • Northcliff Jhb
  • Chilli Lane
  • Valley Centre Jhb
  • Summit Road Corp
  • Olivedale Jhb
  • Cedar Square
  • Town Square
  • Parkwood Jhb
  • Randsteam Jhb
  • Honeycrest Randpark
  • Monilith Krugersdorp
  • Grant Avenue
  • Blairgowrie
  • Greenside Jhb
  • Ferndale
  • South Downs Jhb
  • Woodbridge
  • Farrarmere
  • Bedford Square Jhb
  • East Rand Retail
  • Rynfield Square Jhb
  • Northmead Square Jhb
  • Norkem Square Jhb
  • Modderfontein
  • Parkrands
  • Olympus Village Pta
  • Lemon Tree Alberton
  • Edenmeadow
  • Silver Oaks
  • Faerie Glen
  • Lynwood Bridge
  • El Ridge Jhb
  • New Redruth Alberton
  • Bracken Gardens Jhb
  • Menlyn Maine
  • Nina Park
  • Gift Acres
  • Bedfordview
  • Columbine Sq
  • Atterbury
  • Sunward Park
  • The Club Waterkloof
  • Linksfield
  • Castle Walk
  • Green Valley
  • Castle Gate (New Store Opening End November)

KwaZulu Natal Stores:

  • Delcairn (Already in effect)
  • Midlands Mall (Already in effect)
  • Lillies Quarter
  • Kensington Drive
  • Mc Keurtan Ave
  • Cascades Centre Pmb
  • Granada Centre Dbn
  • Howick
  • Hayfields
  • Sunningdale
  • Westville Mall
  • Mount Edgecombe
  • Windermere
  • Bulwer Road
  • Cowey Road
  • Amanzimtoti Cbd
  • Seadoone
  • Mt Richmore Salt Rock
  • Hilton
  • Woodburn KZN
  • Balito Lifestyle

Western Cape Stores:

  • Constantia Emporium (Already in effect)
  • Steenberg Village (Already in effect)
  • V&A Waterfront (Already in effect)
  • Hout Bay (Already in effect)
  • Pinelands (Already in effect)
  • Blue Route Mall (Already in effect)
  • Tyger Valley (Already in effect)
  • Canal Walk CT (Already in effect)
  • Plettenberg Bay (Already in effect)
  • Knysna Mall (Already in effect)
  • Cavendish Square (Food Market – Already in effect)
  • Paarl Mall (Food Market- Already in effect)
  • Table Bay Mall (Food Market – Already in effect)
  • Constantia Village
  • Waterstone S/west
  • Palmyra Road
  • Gardens CT
  • Park & Shop
  • Big Bay
  • Fishhoek
  • Willowbridge
  • Capricorn Square
  • Old Bakery
  • Cobble Walk
  • Kloof Street CT
  • The Sanctuary
  • Colosseum CT
  • Paddocks
  • Laborie Centre Paarl
  • Okovango Crossing
  • Glen Garry
  • Parklands
  • Soneike
  • Laguna Mall
  • Foreshore
  • Wellington
  • Dean Street
  • Sunset Beach
  • Sir Lowrys Pass
  • Franschhoek
  • Rondebosch Corp
  • Camps Bay
  • Simonstown
  • Main Rd Kenilworth
  • Sitari CT
  • Richmond

Northern Cape Stores:

  • North Cape Mall

Eastern Cape Stores:

  • Walmer Park (Already in effect)
  • Access Park (Already in effect)
  • PE Gardens
  • Sunridge Village
  • Hibiscus Mall

Mpumalanga Stores:

  • Ilanga Nelspruit (Already in effect)
  • Riverside Nelspruit (Already in effect)
  • Nelspruit Crossing
  • White River Crossing
  • Ben Fleur

Free State Stores:

  • Langenhoven Park BFN
  • Preller Sq Bloem

Picture: Unsplash

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