UK retailer Iceland has announced that it has cut the use of plastics in the packaging of its store-brand products by 29%, two years after vowing to remove plastics completely from the category by 2023.
The reduction has resulted in removing 3,794 tonnes of plastics from its operations, which is equivalent to the weight of 36 blue whales.
The retailer has invested in developing plastic-free, sustainable packaging solutions without impacting the pricing of its products.
It has already replaced non-recyclable black plastic packaging from around 74 frozen ready-meal SKUs with paperboard-based trays.
Iceland also made significant progress in addressing difficult to recycle plastics, including PVC and polystyrene.
'Proud Of The Progress'
Managing director at Iceland, Richard Walker, commented, "We received overwhelming support from the public when we announced our commitment back in January 2018, and I’m enormously proud of the progress we’ve made over the past two years.
"To have removed 29% at this stage is a real milestone in our journey and we continue to innovate and develop, week by week and tonne by tonne."
The company has attributed collaboration with suppliers as a driving factor of its success in removing plastics from its products.
The retailer engaged with almost 100 private-label suppliers to establish working groups and set out frameworks for plastic removal, with a redevelopment plan set out for each and every line.
Iceland also worked closely with its operations divisions and engaged in customer research for feedback on the solutions developed by the company.
"We’re now looking ahead to the next phase of our journey, while continuing to engage our customers by finding scalable and user-friendly solutions, truly democratising choice to make sustainable packaging options an affordable reality for everyone," Walker added.
The company has urged all of its branded suppliers to adopt a collaborative approach towards plastic packaging reduction.
The retailer is also testing several concepts such as plastic reduction by 93% for fruit and vegetables, plastic bag free stores, a reduced plastic Christmas range, and reverse vending machines in stores.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.