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Minimising waste and promoting recycling

In FY18, approximately 73 per cent of Coles total waste was diverted from landfill.

The business is focused on innovating and improving diversion and recycling programs, pledging to divert 90 per cent of all supermarket waste from landfill by 2022.

Food waste

In June 2018, Coles publicly committed to:

  • Halve food waste in Coles supermarkets by 2020;
  • Connect all Coles supermarkets with a food rescue organisation by the end of 2018;
  • Provide 100 million meals to Australians in need by 2020; and
  • Work with suppliers to reduce food waste.

The majority of Coles supermarkets and distribution centres already donate edible, unsold grocery, fresh produce, meat, dairy and bakery items to food rescue organisations in communities across Australia.

Through Coles national partnership with SecondBite, more than 31 million kilograms of unsold edible food, equating to 63 million meals,has been donated between 2011 and 30 June 2018. Between 2010 and 30 June 2018, Coles donated the equivalent of more than 17 million meals to Foodbank.2

In FY18, Coles provided more than nine million kilograms of unsold edible food to SecondBite, equating to more than 18 million meals. The business also provided 1.2 million kilograms of unsold edible food to Foodbank, the equivalent of 2.2 million meals.

At the end of FY18, 672 Coles supermarkets were connected with SecondBite, with unsold edible food being directed to 1,300 community organisations.

Some organic waste that cannot be directed to food rescue is sent to anaerobic digestion plants in Western Australia and New South Wales where it is converted into clean energy and certified compost.

Coles is also working with suppliers to reduce their food waste by redirecting produce that cannot be sold to other value-added products.


Soft plastic recycling

In conjunction with REDcycle, Coles runs the largest retailer operated soft plastic recycling program of its type in Australia where customers can recycle plastic bags as well as wide range of other soft plastic packaging that cannot be recycled through most household kerbside recycling services. In FY18, Coles helped customers recycle around 693,000 kilograms of soft plastic that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

In 2018, Coles was able to offer REDcycle recycling bins for soft plastics at all Coles supermarkets.

1 SecondBite uses the conversion of total kilograms donated divided by half to determine equivalent meals.
2 Foodbank uses the conversion of total kilograms donated divided by half to determine equivalent meals.



tonnes '000
2018   234
2017   241
2016   235
2015   192
2014   175
2018   85
2017   93
2016   91
2015   82
2014   83