On World Oceans Day Foodstuffs has announced that its supermarkets, which include New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square, will be microbead-free nationwide from 1 July 2017; a full year ahead of the Government’s proposed date for banning microbeads from New Zealand stores.
Scientific research has proven that the tiny beads of plastic used as an exfoliating agent in many skin cleansing products are finding their way into drains and ultimately the marine environment where they fail to break down or are consumed by marine life.
Chris Quin, Foodstuffs North Island CEO, says the business started discussions with suppliers in 2016 with the aim of speeding up the change. “We’re pleased to say that many suppliers had already reformulated their products substituting the plastic beads with natural ingredients. Where brands are unable to meet our needs we’ll delist the products until new formulations are available.”
Making positive change takes a collective approach. “Minimising our impact on the environment is a priority issue and banning microbeads is absolutely the right thing to do. The changes we're making will have a positive impact on marine life – it’s great we were able to announce this change on World Oceans Day. That said we know there's more work to be done and we will continue to see how we can reduce plastics wherever we can.
“Across the two Foodstuffs Co-operatives* we have almost 30,000 team members committed to reducing waste and our environmental impact. Hundreds of thousands of our customers are also doing their best to make the right choices – using their own bags, choosing sustainable products and shopping thoughtfully on a daily basis. Our suppliers are also a big part of the solution – and it speaks volumes that they have worked with us to provide customers with more sustainable products.
Foodstuffs has introduced other environmental initiatives including 100% recyclable meat trays, LED lighting, and new refrigeration and energy systems. Foodstuffs is also a foundation partner of the Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastics Recycling Programme, collecting over five tonnes a week of packaging in purpose-designed bins located at the front of stores. The material is then reprocessed into new products such as street furniture and decking.
*Foodstuffs North Island & Foodstuffs South Island