Australian retailers Coles and Woolworths have announced measures to slash the amount of plastic packaging in their stores.

The companies introduced targets to reduce the amount of wrapping on fresh fruit and vegetables and curb food waste, Australian Associated Press reported.

In July 2017, the retailers unveiled plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags in response to demands from consumers.

Coles managing director John Durkan was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We know that 69% of customers say that we need to actively reduce waste and landfill through recyclable packaging and find alternative uses for waste.”

In an attempt to tackle food waste and plastic packaging over the next four years, Coles will reduce non-recyclable wrapping on fresh produce, including bananas, kale, and silverbeet.

“The retailer’s initiative will eliminate 134 million plastic straws from circulation per annum.”

Packaging for the company’s meat and poultry products will now include recycled and renewable materials. By 2020, it plans to make all packaging of its home-brand products recyclable.

Meanwhile, Woolworths has declared that it will abolish the sale of plastic straws by the end of this year.

The company will also expand its programme to remove plastic wrap from fruit and vegetables to include a further 80 products, and plans to launch a reusable shopping bag.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said: “While we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of plastic in our stores, supported recycling labelling initiatives, and made improvements in energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing and reducing food waste, we know that more needs to be done to meet our customers’ expectations.”

The retailer’s initiative will eliminate 134 million plastic straws from circulation per annum.