Woolworths drops plastic bags at all food stores – and now wants you to try ‘bag sharing’ with others

South African retailer Woolworths says that it has removed single-use plastic shopping bags at all of its food stores – marking a key milestone in its strategy of zero-packaging waste to landfill.

Along with dropping all single-use plastic bags at its stores, the Woolworths strategy also includes the phasing out of unnecessary single-use plastics and for all packaging to be reusable and/or recyclable.

Since announcing the strategy, the retailer has also removed single-use plastic straws, utensils, lollipop sticks and cotton bud stems, as well as made significant packaging improvements.

“We are deeply committed to our zero-packaging waste to landfill vision and delighted to have reached this target,” said Latiefa Behardien, Woolworths Foods Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer.

“A critical component for the rollout to over 400 food markets was to ensure that our customers had a cost-efficient, durable, reusable bag option that was also made locally. We partnered with a local black-owned supplier and, over the last few years, have created a sustainable business that, in turn, created much-needed jobs in a tough economic environment.

To encourage behavioural change among customers, Woolworths said it is currently trialling a “bag share” initiative, which gives customers the opportunity to drop off their excess reusable bags that are still in good condition for other customers who have forgotten theirs to use and return thereafter.

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“The trial is currently running in our Constantia, Palmyra, St Johns Piazza and Majik Forest stores and should there be a favourable response, we will roll out to more stores upcountry,” the group said.

The group announced this week that it will also be expanding its on-delivery service, Woolies Dash, to 100 new stores, as well as integrating the services into its broader digital offering.

According to the retailer, the integration of the platforms aims to make a one-stop shopping experience for customers. Following the success of Woolies Dash, the group is now bringing the service to its main app and providing more enhanced features.

Over 50% of the retailer’s already online sales emanate from the app, and this is set to accelerate further by introducing Woolies Dash on-demand into the main platform.

Some of the features that Dash shoppers can use in the new integrated app include:

  • Three Woolies Food delivery options in one place – Scheduled delivery, Click and Collect and On-Demand
  • Access to online product promotions and the option to redeem WRewards vouchers
  • WRewards and Myschool virtual cards and information
  • Product ratings and reviews
  • Personal shopper in-app chat
  • The option to add a tip at checkout
  • Order progress alerts and live driver tracking
  • Switch to fashion, beauty and home shopping directly from Woolies Dash
  • Full suite of Woolworths Financial Services
  • Daily content and access to a store locator, barcode scanning to shop products or find-in-store

Read: Woolworths is expanding its delivery services – and adding new features to its app

Artmotion S.Africa

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