Australian supermarket chain Woolworths has replaced single-use plastic picnicware with an extended range of more sustainable items in all its stores across the country.

The move is part of the retailer’s plan to remove around 2.1 million kilograms of plastic a year.

The extended sustainable picnicware range includes wooden cutlery certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), as well as paper cups and plates.

Woolworths is also providing bowls and plates made from sugarcane pulp.

Woolworths Supermarkets Everyday Needs commercial director James Hepworth said: “We’re committed to growing greener for our customers and their communities by increasing the sustainability of our range.

“Removing single-use plastic cutlery and other picnicware will not only cut plastic in landfill but is the right thing to do for the health of our oceans and waterways, where these items can unfortunately end up.

“Along with this change, we’re offering customers an extended picnic range of more sustainable options made from materials like sugarcane pulp, bamboo, wood and paper.

“We thank our customers for their support as together we make this change today, for a better tomorrow.”

In addition to single-use plastic picnicware, Woolworths has eliminated plastic cotton tip stems by replacing them with paper and sugarcane stems across the range.

This move is expected to save almost 500 million pieces of plastic a year.

In 2018, the retailer stopped selling single-use plastic shopping bags and plastic straws, removing over 330 million straws from circulation.

Woolworths aims to make all its own-brand packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2023.

In September, the company announced that it had eliminated more than 2,500t of plastic from its own-brand and fresh produce packaging this year.

The retailer also diverted 360,000t of waste from landfill, equivalent to 80% of the waste from Australian businesses or the amount generated by 320,000 households in the country.