Woolworths Group is considering any potential impact of the current unavailability of the instore soft plastics recycling program on our sustainability goals. Our ambition remains to make our own brand packaging widely recyclable, reusable or compostable, and we are working through soft plastics recycling solutions as part of an industry and government taskforce.
Our customers tell us that one of their top concerns is packaging waste; plastic waste, in particular. We are focused on eliminating plastic wherever possible, and working towards closing the loop by encouraging recycling through design, technology and clear communication to our customers and suppliers.
The number one challenge to our business in plastics packaging continues to be fruit and vegetables. More than any other product category, packaging is a critical part of food safety and quality, protecting produce in transit, extending shelf life and reducing food waste.
In seeking to positively impact our planet, we are partnering with industry to reduce the use of virgin plastic and increase the amount of recycled content in our own brand packaging, while making it easier for our customers to recycle and influencing our value chain to do the same.
We continue to trial innovative solutions in this space.
In April 2022 South Australia became the first state where our supermarkets introduced compostable fruit and vegetable bags, available in all 67 stores across the state.
Early 2022 saw us announce the phasing out of Woolworths 15-cent plastic shopping bags in Western Australia, the first major supermarket to do so ahead of new state legislation banning a variety of plastic shopping bags from July 2022.