Woolworths customers will have noticed that we have retired our 24 litre white food shopping bags in favour of ‘green carriers’. The change is not merely cosmetic. The new food bags are made from 45% recycled material, a move inspired by our commitment to sustainability – our Good business journey to help people and planet. The recycled plastic is harvested from post industrial waste. Manufacturing packaging from partially recycled plastic requires fewer non-renewable resources than would be used to produce bags made entirely from virgin material. Above all using recycled materials will see less waste go to landfill. Waste management is a big challenge globally. In Cape Town alone, the city’s Environmental Resource Management Department says that the amount of waste generated by the city annually is increasing at a rate that is higher than the growth of its population each year. “Environmentally friendly shopping bags are not new to Woolworths. The shopping bags used for clothing and general merchandise in Woolworths KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape stores contain 35% recycled material which is also harvested from post industrial waste. Expect to see ranges of these innovative bags rolled out to other regions shortly. We continue to encourage our customers to use reusable shopping bags,” says Dorothy McLaren, Head of Corporate affairs at Woolworths. “Even though we’ve introduced a more environmentally sensitive bag to our food departments, we would really prefer our customers to use reusable shopping bags,” continued McLaren. “We have a range to meet differing needs, including the very popular coloured cloth bags and the plastic art bags, featuring the work of local South African artists. We’ve also recently added a jute bag, made from sustainable fibres, which clearly indicates our vision, sporting the phrase – ‘saving the world one bag at a time’”. Ends Editors notes Woolworths Good business journey Woolworths Good business journey is a comprehensive 5 year plan announced in April 2007 to help people and planet. It incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing Woolworths environmental focus and addressing climate change. In line with our Good business journey, Woolworths is revolutionising the way the business views packaging. We are committed to finding ways to substantially reduce product packaging and to increase the content of recycled material in packaging and plastic shopping bags. Woolworths has set targets to reduce packaging in clothing by 33% and in food by 20% by 2012. Woolworths also makes use of recycled material in our fleet of shopping trolleys and baskets and in-store signage and displays. There will be more eco-friendly packaging ‘milestones’ to come. Woolworths recognises that packaging waste takes a huge toll on the environment. Increasing recycled content and making our packaging recyclable will help reduce this impact. We also encourage our customers to recycle. We will soon be rolling out a pilot recycling project in Western Cape stores.