Australian supermarket chain Coles is set to remove single-use plastic tableware from its store shelves and replace it with sustainable alternatives.

The move comes after the retailer committed in February to getting rid of single-use plastic tableware from more than 2,500 Coles supermarkets, Express and Liquor stores around Australia from 1 July.

Going forward, Coles will use reusable options and certified tableware, including timber cutlery and paper plates that are certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Single-use plastic tableware is not recyclable and is designed to be discarded after one use. Because of this, it usually ends up in landfill or as litter polluting the environment.

This initiative will allow Coles to divert 1.5 million kilogrammes of single-use plastic from being sent to landfill a year.

The announcement comes as the company released its Sustainability Strategy centred around two pillars, namely Together to Zero and Better Together.

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Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said: “Our strategy is focused on acting together now for generations of Australians ahead. We understand our responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and to show leadership in protecting our planet and climate.

“We have identified powerful initiatives across how we use energy and how we can move towards a circular economy, as well as how we will continue to improve our sustainable sourcing.

“We are not working alone. Our relationships with our team members, shareholders, farmers, suppliers, partners, customers and communities drive our sustainability agenda forward.

“We want to win together in the best interests of all, including through our Australian First Sourcing Policy.”

Australian Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said: “It is pleasing to see this initiative from Coles, which reflects the Morrison Government’s commitments to increase plastic recycling, find alternatives to unnecessary plastics and reduce the impact of plastic on the environment.”

Last month, Coles joined the Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands Plastics Pact (ANZPAC) to support the fight against plastic waste pollution in Australia.