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Coles continues to trumpet its moves towards sustainability on the back of the contentious plastic bag ban – and criticism of its new Little Shop promotion.

Environmental groups and health advocates this week accused the supermarket chain's Little Shop rewards program – which includes the offer for a free toy for every $30 spent – as environmentally damaging.

The range includes mini Tim Tams, Vegemite, Nutella, Leggo’s pasta sauce jars and Oak chocolate milk cartons.

The minis are made from various materials including paper, cardboard, plastic and foam, and “where possible” from the same material as the original product, although some, including the mini bananas and bottled water, are made from hard plastics.

At the same time, Coles has been vocal about moves such as its decision to introduce meat packaging made entirely from a combination of recycled and renewable material.

The packaging will be used for a wide range of Coles Brand fresh meat and poultry products.

Coles will buy an expected 121 million recyclable meat and poultry trays in 2018 from Australian manufacturer Plantic Technologies, and is aiming to use the equivalent of 150 million recycled water bottles to combat Australia’s plastic waste.

The barrier trays are made from recycled PET, with a thin layer of Plantic’s renewable barrier material which helps keeps the meat fresh.

During the recycling process, the thin Plantic plant starch layer uniquely washes away, allowing the PET tray to be recycled.

Plantic’s materials carry the Australian Recycling Label (ARL.org.au) launched by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), PlanetArk and PREP Design.

Coles also recently pledged to halve food waste across its supermarkets by 2020, make all packaging of Coles Brand products recyclable by 2020, and reduce plastic wrapping on fruit and vegetables.

Coles also has plans to divert 90 per cent of all supermarket waste (including food, cardboard and plastic) from landfill by 2022 and donate the equivalent of 100 million meals to people in need by 2020 by redistributing surplus food.

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