Countdown parent’s supplier guide ranks packaging materials

Countdown’s Australian parent Woolworths has published a list of problematic and preferred packaging materials for its suppliers to refer to as it works to encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly packaging. 

The list is based on a simple traffic-light system ranking materials red, amber, and green and is easily referenced online on the supermarket giant’s partner hub. 

Red, amber, and green: the new packaging material rankings.

The initiative is part of Woolworths’ 2025 Sustainability Plan launched last November in which it commits to making packaging more sustainable. The company is also using the list to guide its own packaging decisions.

“Our commitment is to collaborate with you, our trading partners, government, and industry to reduce waste and transition our business to a circular economy,” said Paul Harker, director of buying & group replenishment in a letter to suppliers. “As part of this, we have set an ambitious commitment to make all of our own brand packaging recyclable, compostable, or reusable by 2023 and are already working with our own brand suppliers to achieve this.”

Woolworths consulted with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (Apco) to create the list, with the two organisations aiming to phase out the hardest to recycle materials (those in red) from all packaging by 2025.

Brooke Donnelly, Apco CEO, said that if Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets were to be achieved, the whole supply chain had to collaborate and demonstrate leadership. 

“Today, Woolworths displayed both those qualities with the publication of the preferred and problematic packaging materials list. The team at Apco is proud to have developed a number of public resources to support businesses in the transition to a circular economy for packaging and Members like Woolworths that share this information with their wide networks can amplify and accelerate this transition.”

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