Waitrose & Partners has hit its target to remove black plastic from hundreds of products as part of its overall aim to eradicate black plastic from all its own-label products.
The retailer has now removed hard-to-recycle black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg – amounting to a reduction of over 1,300 tonnes of black plastic per annum.
This progress now means Waitrose & Partners is more than half-way to achieving its goal to remove black plastic on all its own brand products by the end of 2019.
The majority of black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments 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 as residue and disposed of in landfill.
Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “Eliminating black plastic is a priority for us. While removing it we have also taken the opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic of any colour by removing trays from fruit and veg like apples, broccoli and pak choi.
“We are making progress all the time and are determined to maintain our momentum which is why we’re now looking at ready meals and other products so we can achieve our aim of removing all black plastic from our own-label products by the end of 2019.”
A recent example of packaging innovation to eradicate the use of black plastic include the retailer’s Duchy organic tomato packaging which partly uses punnets made from tomato vines, which would otherwise have gone to waste, with recycled cardboard.
Waitrose & Partners plan to eliminate unnecessary plastic:
Waitrose & Partners has already reduced its packaging by almost 50% since 2009. We have taken important steps to eliminate unnecessary plastic for example by removing disposable coffee cups from our shops, eliminating microbeads from our products and innovating in alternatives to plastic, but we want to go further:
We are determined to make all our own-brand packaging widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable. We will have identified solutions for all our packaging by 2020 and will meet our target by 2023.
70% of the plastic in our own-brand product packaging is already widely recyclable. We aim to increase this to 80% by 2020 and 100% by 2023.
In 2019 we will work further with our customers to determine which plastic packaging can be removed without decreasing quality and reducing shelf life to make sure that we don’t increase food waste.
We are replacing loose fruit and veg bags with home compostable alternatives by spring 2019 and will remove 5p single-use carrier bags by March 2019.
By Christmas 2020, our own label cards, wraps, crackers, tags, flowers and plants will either be glitter-free or the retailer will use an environmentally friendly alternative.