Waitrose Launches Compostable Ready Meal Packaging
Waitrose & Partners is launching the world's first home compostable ready meal packaging as it transitions away from the use of black plastic in its products, according to a statement.
The new packaging will initially replace many of the retailer's Italian ready meal trays, saving around 158 tonnes of black plastic.
The new containers boast a fibre base that has a similar texture to cardboard and are certified home compostable.
The company said it has worked with suppliers Huhtmaki and Saladworks to ensure that the trays can be heated in the oven and microwave, and are cool to touch after cooking.
The fibre-based packaging is Forest Stewardship Council certified, delivering a 50% saving in CO2 emissions. It can also be recycled.
According to its statement, the packaging innovation means millions of ready meals will be taken out of hard-to-recycle black plastic as Waitrose continues to lead in removing the material from all its own brand products by the end of 2019.
This is the first phase of the retailer's plans to replace black plastic on all its ready meals after already successfully removing black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables earlier this year.
The majority of black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments, it revealed, which do not enable the pack to be easily sorted by the systems widely used in plastics recycling.
As a result, black plastic packaging can commonly end up in landfill.
"Pioneering the first home compostable ready meal packaging that ensures customers can continue to cook their food quickly, safely, and now more sustainably, is a major breakthrough in packaging innovation," said Karen Graley, manager, packaging and reprographics, Waitrose & Partners.
"This step - combined with moving millions of ready meals out of black plastic - is a significant milestone in how we package food and eliminate hard to recycle material for good,” she said.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Helen Galgey. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.