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Sainsbury’s makes pledge to cut plastic packaging by half

Sainsbury's Local

Supermarkets are urging changing habits (pic: Terry Murden)

Sainsbury’s is to meet packaging firms, food manufacturers and scientists to outline its plan to halve the amount of plastic used in its stores by 2025.

The company is proposing a revolution in consumer buying habits which may see more re-fill counters and re-usable bags.

It will kick-off the changes by removing all plastic bags from its fruit and veg sections by the end of this month. Sainsbury’s is also inviting the public and business partners to submit their own ideas.

It will encourage customers to bring their own containers for products from shampoo to raw meat and fish, and will sell more products loose by weight, something Waitrose began trialling earlier this year.

Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive admitted that reducing plastic and packaging “is not easy” and said the company wants suppliers and customers to work with the company to achieve its goals.

MPs said this week reducing packaging should be the priority for retailers, rather than replacing plastic with compostable or recyclable alternatives.

Earlier this week, The Centre in Livingston, announced that it would become the first mall in the UK to provide shoppers with the option to buy a reusable paper carrier bag to help reduce plastic pollution.

What are other supermarkets doing?

Waitrose has pledged to eliminate single-use plastic and has removed all non-recyclable black plastic from own label ranges. It is rolling out a refill section for pasta, beer on tap and pick ‘n’ mix frozen fruit. It has removed single use coffee cups, saving 52 million cups a year.

Tesco is aiming to remove hard-to-recycle materials, including PVC and polystyrene. From next year it will assess the size and suitability of packaging of every product it stocks. From next year it will deliver products ordered online to homes in reusable containers that will then be collected, cleaned and refilled.

Asda is trialling a new type of coating on fresh produce, which could double shelf life. It is removing plastic wrapping from more than 50 million greetings cards and encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable fruit and veg bags. The firm has been selling refillable cleaning products. It no longer offers single-use carrier bags in store or for online shopping.

Aldi: It plans to have 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging across all products by 2025. It has been removing plastic from its tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes and aubergines. It has been trialling paper and compostable carrier bags after scrapping 5p single-use carrier bags and is removing difficult-to-recycle packaging including expanded polystyrene, PVC and non-detectable black plastic from the shop’s food range by the end of 2020. It has stopped using plastic packaging on cabbages and cauliflower in stores in Scotland.



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