In a bid to meet consumer demands, Coles and Woolworths supermarkets have announced a number of initiatives to reduce plastic and food waste in their stores.
"We know that 69 per cent of customers say that we need to actively reduce waste and landfill through recyclable packaging and find alternative uses for waste," Coles managing director John Durkan said.
Coles also pledged to reduce plastic wrapping on fruit and vegies and will replace plastic packaging for meat and poultry product with recycled and renewable materials.
Meanwhile, Woolworths has revealed that it will ban plastic straws by the end of 2018, saving 134 million straws a year.
The supermarket giant will also phase out single-use plastic bags on June 20, while offering a new green reusable shopping bag - with a lifetime replacement offer - for customers to purchase.
An in-store plastic recycling option for customers will be introduced in partnership with REDcycle.
“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,” Woolworths group chief executive Brad Banducci said in a statement.
“Today’s initiatives represent further small, but important, steps in our commitment to make positive change happen. We understand the journey towards a more sustainable future has its challenges, but together with our customers and industry partners we are committed to moving our business, our country and our planet towards a greener future.”
Greenpeace Australia praised the supermarkets initiatives as progress towards positive change.
"Obviously Greenpeace would like to see a phase-out of all single-use plastics across-the-board because we know that plastics is a looming problem for our environment and our society," a spokesman told AAP.
"People are infuriated by this. You only have to do a search on social media and see people enraged by apples wrapped in plastic. Plastic bags are used on average for seven minutes and then last for hundreds of years."