Three years of development of an innovative new Woolworths trolley has proved successful as the business recycles old trolleys into new modern alternatives that have a reduced impact on the environment. In 2005 Woolworths and its trolley supplier Supercart began investigating the possibility of creating a fleet of environmentally friendly shopping trollies and baskets. Just two years later, well over half of the retailer’s fleet of 30 618 trollies and baskets are already made from 30% recycled plastic, with the balance being virgin material. Woolworths moved to the recycled plastic to reduce the business’ impact on the environment in line with Woolworths Good business journey – a comprehensive strategy to addresses sustainable growth within a changing social, economic and environmental landscape in South Africa and the planet. Reduce, recycle, reuse: Woolworths has identified these as the three key pillars for the business’ waste management strategy. What makes the trolleys even more resource efficient is that the recycled material comes from Woolworths obsolete trolleys which, through this process, are 100% recycled. This has the highly significant advantage of disposing of the old trolleys and not adding additional waste to landfills. To date, the project has recycled 161 tons of plastic. Commenting on the initiative, the project’s brainchild, Mike van Heerden, Woolworths Protection and Governance Manager of Selling, says: “At Woolworths we believe we have a responsibility towards protecting the environment in every facet of the business. We are always on the look out for opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our products and processes.” This innovative project – which could be a first for South Africa – has been met with a great deal of interest from Supercart’s other retail clients. Supercart’s CEO Mike Wolfe says: “This project has had very positive international ramifications for Supercart and we are now able to offer trolleys for sale using recycled plastic in all of our businesses located worldwide.” This is not the first time that Woolworths has broken new ground in corporate sustainability. Woolworths was the first retailer to recycle hangers and also introduced heavy-duty re-usable plastic shopping bags two years prior to government legislation making the use of such bags compulsory for all retailers.

Three years of development of an innovative new Woolworths trolley has proved successful as the business recycles old trolleys into new modern alternatives that have a reduced impact on the environment.