Woolworths reusable bag.
Woolworths reusable bag.

  • Woolies has announced that 25 of its stores, including some of the larger ones such as Sandton City, Eastgate and Canal Walk have discontinued the use of single-use plastics.
  • The bags have been replaced by low cost reusable bags and ‘closed loop recycled’ paper bags. 
  • The retailer plans to phase out the use of single-use plastics completely in all of its stores over time. 
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Woolworths has announced that 25 of its stores have discontinued the use of single-use plastics for ‘closed loop recycled’ paper bags and its reusable bags.

The stores that have already hopped on the initiative include some of the company's bigger branches such as Sandton City, Eastgate and Canal Walk.

The retailer has already done a small-scale trial run of the bags in a small number of its stores. By expanding the trial to 25 branches, Woolworths is hoping to stress-test its supply chain processes, and get a better idea of the amounts of bags it will need, 

The reusable plastic bags are currently sold for R6.49, while paper bags are free for fashion, beauty and home (FBH) customers.  

“Our trials have confirmed that our customers want to reduce their plastic shopping bag usage and invest in low cost reusable bags or use paper bags," said Feroz Koor, the Group's head of sustainability.

“Since we launched our low cost reusable bag and in-store communications encouraging customers to choose reusable bags, we have seen about a 30% reduction in plastic shopping bag sales across all stores which is very encouraging,” said Koor.

According to him, the phasing out of single-use plastic will eliminate between 5 and 6 tonnes of plastic waste in the environment.

The drive to eliminate plastic in its stores forms part of Woolworths' larger sustainability projects. Last month the company announced that it was using over one million 500ml PET bottles to make clothing material as part of its sustainable fashion range for winter 2020.

READ| Woolworths is using more than 1 million plastic bottles to make its puffer jackets

While Woolworths has used recycled polyester in items such as denim jeans, the company said it has been hard at work repurposing the bottles into "recycled polyester". This will now form part of its puffer jackets and gilets, as well as some polar fleece items across men's, ladies' and kidswear.

Along with the jackets, Woolworths says it is also using recycled PET bottles in duvet fill, reusable shopping bags and packaging. The company says it is committed to sourcing sustainable fibres and including recycled materials in products and packaging.

Here's a list of the stores that will be going plastic bag free: 

Johannesburg:

Eastgate Mall

Sandton City

Nicol Way

Melrose Arch

Rosebank Mall

Maroun Square

Pretoria:

Parkview Kimiad

Moreleta Village

Potchefstroom:

MooiRiver Junction

Cape Town:

V&A Waterfront

Hout Bay

Canal Walk

Tygervalley Shopping Centre

Pinelands

Blue Route Mall

Constantia Emporium

Steenberg

Table Bay Mall (food store)

Cavendish Square (food store)

Paarl Mall (food store) 

Port Elizabeth: 

Walmer Park

Access Park

KwaZulu Natal:

Midlands Mall

Delcairn Centre

Garden Route:

Plettenberg Bay

Knysna

Nelspruit:

I’Langa Mall

Riverside Mall

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