Sainsbury’s Tests Recycling System For Flexible Plastics

By Dayeeta Das
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Sainsbury’s Tests Recycling System For Flexible Plastics

UK retailer Sainsbury’s has announced that it is trialling a new film recycling system in select stores.

The trial will allow for items such as salad bags, frozen food bags, biscuits, and cake wrappers, which are among the top household products that are harder to recycle at home, to be recycled in store.

The trial is underway in 63 Sainsbury’s supermarkets across the north-east of the UK, with a full rollout expected by the end of this year, the retailer added.

Recycling System

The launch of the new recycling system is part of Sainsbury’s commitment to increase recycling in its own operations, and to make recycling easier for customers by offering more facilities to do so in its stores.

The retailer has pledged to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025 and become net zero in its operations by 2040.


The recycling system will target Polypropylene (PP) plastics, which contributed to around 266,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2019 according to a report published by Valpak.

PP film is not accepted by most councils in the UK, which means customers are currently unable to recycle it at home, causing various difficulties as it is the most appropriate material for food packaging.

The pilot project will allow customers to put their PP plastics into the same recycling bins that are currently used to collect PE plastics in Sainsbury’s stores .


The trial is the latest in a series of the retailer’s ongoing initiatives, which include removing plastic packaging completely where possible, replacing plastic with an alternative material for products that still need some form of packaging, and giving customers options to reuse packaging.


Claire Hughes, director of product and innovation at Sainsbury’s, said the retailer is "dedicated to trialling and testing new initiatives as part of our ongoing commitment to make it easier for customers to recycle."

Hughes added the group will "continue to find collaborations, working with our suppliers, academics, and organisations such as WRAP to explore innovative ways to reduce and recycle more of our packaging."

Dr David Moon, head of business collaboration at WRAP, commended the UK retailer's initiative, saying "we need all supermarkets to collect all plastic films, adopt consistent messaging and share their insights to make this work. WRAP urges other retailers to ensure that flexible plastic packaging can be easily collected for recycling throughout the UK."

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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