The managing director of UK retailer Iceland has called on other retailers to “follow suit” and make meaningful commitments to lower plastic usage, following the frozen food operator’s announcement that its private label range will be plastic-free by 2023.
“The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change,” commented Richard Walker.
“Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018. This is a time for collaboration.”
As part of the retailer’s commitment, it said that it will ‘globally eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own brand products by the end of 2023’, which it says is an ‘important step’ towards cutting down on the estimated one million tonnes of plastic generated by UK supermarkets each year.
It will use ‘the latest technologies’ to create a range of packaging that incorporates paper and pulp trays, as well as paper bags, which are recyclable.
“There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment,” said Walker.
“The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”
The supermarket has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own-label range, while its new private label food launches this year will come in paper based, rather than plastic trays.
Commenting, Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven welcomed the move, saying, “Last month a long list of former heads of Britain’s biggest retail groups wrote a joint statement to explain that the only solution to plastic pollution was for retailers to reject plastic entirely in favour of more sustainable alternatives like recycled paper, steel, glass and aluminium.
“Now Iceland has taken up that challenge with its bold pledge to go plastic free within five years. […] It’s now up to other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge.”
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.