UK supermarket chain Waitrose has pledged to stop selling private-label food products in black plastic packaging by the end of 2019.
The retailer says that it has already removed 65% of black plastic from its fruit and vegetable packaging, and it will stop using the material entirely for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables by the end of this year.
“Tackling the use of plastics across our business is a key priority for us, and we have committed that all our packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home-compostable by 2025,” said Tor Harris, head of sustainability and responsible sourcing at Waitrose.
The retailer noted that black plastic, which is used by many supermarkets to package ready meals and desserts, is particularly difficult to recycle, as the lasers used by waste processors cannot sense the colour effectively.
“Not many people realise that black plastic is tough to recycle,” Harris added. “As a retailer dedicated to reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, becoming black-plastic-free across all our own-label products is the right thing to do.”
Earlier this week, the retailer also said that it will stop selling packs of plastic straws by September 2018, in its bid to cut down on plastic.
Discussions of plastic packaging have dominated UK headlines recently, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s 25-year plan for reducing waste and tackling climate change.
In a speech made last week, May pledged to eliminate all “avoidable” plastic waste by 2042 and proposed extending the levy on plastic bags and introducing plastic-free aisles in supermarkets.
Several supermarkets and packaging companies have already made statements about their efforts to reduce waste, including frozen-food retailer Iceland, which pledged that its private-label range will be plastic-free by 2023.
An investigation by The Guardian this week revealed that the UK’s supermarkets currently create nearly one million tonnes of plastic packaging waste each year.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.