Understanding what parts of packaging can be recycled will now be easier for shoppers, with Woolworths adopting the new Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) across its entire Own Brand product range.
In a partnership with leading environmental organisation Planet Ark, Woolworths, through its membership with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), is the first Australian supermarket to commit to adopting the ARL across its Own Brand range. The labelling is aimed at supporting customers in the disposing of packaging correctly and efficiently.
The rollout of the ARL is in response to research showing customers are often unsure what packaging can and cannot be recycled.
The new labelling system, developed by Planet Ark, highlights what needs to be done with each piece of packaging to ensure the right elements end up in recycling and those which can’t are correctly disposed of.
“At Woolworths we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously. This is one part of that commitment to minimise our impact on the environment and encourage recycling," said Woolworths Food Group Head of Sustainability Adrian Cullen.
“We know customers want to do the right thing and recycle packaging the right way, but have been frustrated in the past by unclear labelling. By partnering with Planet Ark we are making it easier for them to understand how to dispose of the packaging correctly. Using the ARL is a clear and easy way for them to do this and hopefully will lead to more recycling.”
“We congratulate Woolworths for being the first major supermarket retailer to commit to adopting the ARL across all their own brand products," said Planet Ark CEO Paul Klymenko.
“Our research shows that the majority of Australians continue to be confused about recycling of common items. Some things we think can be recycled can't be, while some packaging continues going to landfill when it can be recycled.
“That’s why we developed the ARL; an evidence-based and standardised labelling system. It enables people to make better recycling decisions and put their packaging in the right bin.”
The labelling has already begun to appear on Woolworths Own Brand products including pre-packed Potato and Pasta salads and the new Woolworths Skyr yoghurt. It will continue to be added to other products as packaging is refreshed and updated.
The launch of the ARL on Woolworths Own Brand products follows the supermarket's commitment earlier this year to phase out the use of single-use plastic bags across stores nationwide by July 1 2018.
Woolworths has also begun the reduction of plastics and packaging in fruit and vegetables, with trials presently underway to remove or reduce plastic packaging on 28 fresh produce lines such as Kale, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Potatoes. The goal is to remove 150 tonnes per year of plastic packaging annually.