Supermarket shelves plastic

Posted at 2:30pm Tuesday 18 Feb, 2020

Countdown Orewa is in the process of trialling a system that features more loose produce and reduces plastic wrap in its fruit and vegetable section.

Paper bags also replace plastic bags for bulk foods.

The Orewa store, together with its counterparts in Ponsonby and Manukau, is the first in Auckland to roll out the “unwrapping” trial, which began last week.

A total of 65 items without plastic will feature. The supermarket is asking customers to add the items to the reusable bags they bring with them.

Countdown's general manager corporate affairs, safety and sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, said the trial will see more than a tonne of plastic removed from the stores, as well as the introduction of paper and cardboard packaging.

“Only lettuce and bagged herb portions will remain in plastic, as there were currently no sustainable alternatives,” she says. “Where possible any plastic packaging provided is made from PET or rPET, which can be recycled and reused. Soft plastics can also be recycled instore.”

During the 10-week test, Countdown is seeking feedback from customers and staff as well as measuring a range of factors.

Ms Hannifin says the company has invested more than $500,000 in shelving, packaging and production changes for the test, but it's investment that has to be made if the company is serious about reducing the use of plastic.

“Changes need to be easy, convenient and better for the environment at the same time.  Unwrapped will change the way our customers shop for 10 weeks, but their feedback could have a long-lasting impact on how all New Zealanders shop in the future and help guide our next steps.”


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