Sainsbury’s is set to become the first UK supermarket to eradicate plastic bags for loose fruit and veg. It follows trials unveiled earlier this week by rivals Waitrose for packaging-free shopping.
Sainsbury’s has doubled its efforts to cut unnecessary plastic, announcing the removal of a further 1,284 tonnes of plastic this year which follows its existing commitments to remove 1,280 tonnes.
This includes removing 489 tonnes of plastic bags, which are currently used for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items.
By September, paper bags will be available in all of its stores for customers for loose bakery items.
Customers buying loose fruit and vegetables will either be able to bring their own bags or buy a re-usable bag made from recycled materials.
Sainsbury’s has previously implemented measures that have led to the reduction of over 8,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and “virgin plastic” every year.
Its latest efforts bring this total to over 10,000 tonnes.
Sainsbury’s has also stated a commitments to ensuring that all of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Sainsbury’s will be removing plastic cutlery from stores as well as:
- plastic trays for asparagus and sweetcorn (144 tonnes)
- plastic lids from cream pots (114 tonnes)
- plastic trays for tomatoes (102 tonnes)
- plastic trays for carrots (38 tonnes)
- plastic sleeves from herb pots (18 tonnes
The company has also committed to replace:
- black plastic trays with recyclable alternatives (6,000 tonnes)
- plastic film on fruit and vegetables with a recyclable alternative (2,518 tonnes)
- PVC and polystyrene trays with recyclable alternatives (1,213 tonnes)
- plastic trays for eggs with a fibre alternative (341 tonnes)
- plastic cutlery for takeaway food with wooden alternatives (38 tonnes)
Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe commented: “We are absolutely committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s stores.
“Our customers expect us to be leading the way on major issues like this, so I am determined to remove and replace plastic packaging where we can and offer alternatives to plastic where packaging is still required to protect a product.”
Sainsbury’s confirmed that black plastic trays (whcih are difficult to recycle) will be replaced with alternatives by the end of the year, with black ready-meal trays set to be replaced within the next two months.
Sainsbury’s is keen to stake its claim as a pioneer in the race to be seen as an eco-friendly supermarket.
It cites removing microbeads from own brand products and being one of the first to offer paper-only cotton buds as examples of previous work in this field.