Australian supermarket chain Coles has started offering a free certified compostable bags option in the fruit and vegetable section across all its stores in South Australia.

These bags have been introduced as a more sustainable alternative to replace single-use plastic bags in the fresh produce section of Coles stores.

Coles said these compostable bags are made using renewable resources, including corn starch.

The new bags also have a ‘Seedling logo’, validating that the compostability of the bags has been verified as per Australian national standards.

After use, customers can easily dispose of their new bags in their council’s green bin or compost them at home.

The latest move is expected to eliminate 28 million plastic produce bags from being circulated annually.

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The effort is in line with the retailer’s ambition to transition towards a more sustainable future.

According to Coles Group CSO and COO Matt Swindells, introducing compostable bags across all of the company’s 54 Southern Australian stores will minimise the amount of plastic ending up in landfills.

Swindells added: “South Australia’s gold standard waste and recycling collection system has allowed us to take this positive step to offer our customers a compostable solution in fresh produce in all stores across the state.

“The advantage of these compostable bags is that they can be disposed of in your green bin, or on your home compost heap, and will remove a total of 28 million plastic produce bags from circulation in just one year.

“Our new compostable bag can also be reused in your kitchen food waste caddy, reducing the need to buy your own bags.” 

Coles said that it has implemented the new change 12 months ahead of the new state-wide regulations that will completely ban single-use plastic produce bags.

Aside from free compostable bags, Coles will also offer an option for customers to buy a three-pack of reusable mesh produce bags, with prices being reduced from A$3 ($1.94) to A$1.50 nationally.

Earlier in June this year, Coles revealed its plans to withdraw soft-plastic shopping bags from all its stores and its online platform.