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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

NATURAL HERITAGE TRUST WRAPS UP WASTE


2 August 1998
(86/98)

The Howard Government has backed a new national campaign to dramatically reduce the waste and rubbish produced by our supermarkets.

The government has allocated $50,000 from the Natural Heritage Trust to Clean Up Australia's "Waste Reduction and Accreditation Program" (WRAP).

WRAP will encourage retail businesses to reduce and recycle store generated waste - starting with more than 400 Coles Supermarkets across Australia.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says retail businesses are picking up on the growing environmental awareness of their customers.

"It is estimated that Australian consumers use more than 5 billion plastic shopping bags each year - that's almost 14 million a day.

"Supermarkets and groups like Clean Up Australia have helped get the message through to consumers about the need to reduce the number of plastic bags we use.

"Consumers are now becoming aware of other waste issues such as excessive packaging of products and food produce waste.

"It's a natural progression for retailers to now be looking more closely at these other waste issues as they attempt to improve their environmental performance."

Federal Member for Dunkley Bruce Billson, who has helped launch the scheme, says the Coles pilot project is just a first step to a comprehensive national scheme.

"Coles Supermarkets have joined the Government in funding WRAP as well as promoting the scheme for suppliers, staff and customers.

"They have recognised that their consumers - local communities around Australia - expect a high standard of environmental performance.

"Through this scheme their stores will cut plastic bag use and reduce and recycle packaging, green and organic waste.

"They will work with their manufacturers to provide goods in packaging that is minimal, recyclable and reusable. They will also promote customer awareness of products made from recovered or recycled material.

"I am confident that consumers will back the initiative shown by Coles Supermarkets and that other retail outlets will soon follow the example."

Media contacts:
Matt Brown (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Jim Cannon (Environment Australia) 02 6274 1076
Bruce Billson MP (Office) 03 9781 2333

Commonwealth of Australia