SAINSBURY'S
Aim to cut plastic packaging by 50% / UK food retail giant urges customers to play their part in waste reduction
UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s (London / UK; www.sainsburys.co.uk) has called on its customers to change their shopping habits as the group seeks to slash its plastic packaging in half by 2025. The group is the second largest food retailer in the UK and currently uses around 120,000 t/y of plastic packaging. It said it would target all branded and own-label goods, but a key element to the success of its waste strategy was getting its customers onside.

“Some of these alternatives will require customers to change their behaviour, for example, plastic milk bottles are currently one of largest sources of plastic packaging,” the firm said in a statement. “Sainsbury’s is reviewing alternative options including the introduction of refillable bottles, introducing returnable milk bottles or offering a reusable jug with milk in a lightweight plastic pouch,” it added.

The group is the latest food retailer to announce plans to cut the amount of plastic packaging it uses, after the UK’s number one supermarket group Tesco (Welwyn Garden City / UK; www.tescoplc.com) pledged to remove all non-recyclable and hard to recycle material where possible – see Plasteurope.com of 28.08.2019.

After analysing its plastic footprint Sainsbury’s said the key areas of focus would be plastic milk bottles, packaging for fruit and vegetables, fizzy drinks, water and fruit juices. The group, plans to work with environmental group Greenpeace (Amsterdam / The Nederlands; www.greenpeace.org) on the scheme, said it would aim to use lighter-weight plastics and introduces refillable packaging at scale.

On 25 September, Sainsbury’s launched a trial to reduce plastic packaging for fresh floral ranges. The 12-week trial will run in 167 Sainsbury’s stores and marks another step in the company’s commitment to reduce plastics by 50%. Plastic sleeves from more than 1m fresh floral bunches and bouquets will be replaced with paper wrapping during the trial, saving over 10 t of plastics, the retailer said. The tape used to secure the wrapping will also be replaced with recyclable paper tape.
Greenpeace commends Sainsbury's
This follows a campaign from Greenpeace UK urging Sainsbury’s to do better on plastics, after the group came last in Greenpeace’s 2018 survey of UK supermarkets’ plastic habits “Checking out on plastics”. According to the study, 10 supermarkets are placing over 810,000 t of single-use plastic on the market every year. This is in addition to over 1.1 bn single-use bags, 958m reusable “bags for life” and 1.2 bn plastic produce bags for fruit and vegetables. Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign, said the commitment by Sainsbury’s to cut plastics by 50% is a victory for tens of thousands of customers. “We commend Sainsbury’s for listening and recognising that huge plastic reduction and bringing in refillable packaging at scale are vital to tackling the plastic pollution crisis.”

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said, “Packaging plays a vital role in keeping our food safe and fresh and minimising food waste. We must therefore find alternatives to plastic that protect the quality of our food while minimising our impact on the environment. We can’t do this on our own and we will be asking our suppliers and our customers to work with us to help us make this important change.”
26.09.2019 Plasteurope.com [243483-0]
Published on 26.09.2019

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