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.
Customers shopping at Waitrose & Partners are also being encouraged to bring reusable containers to take home products from the supermarket’s fresh service counters to help save plastic bags.
Shoppers at the supermarket have been able to bring their own clean, lidded containers to take home their fresh meat and fish rather than taking a plastic bag for some time, but signs have now gone up in all stores with meat and fish counters to increase awareness of the policy.
Encouraging customers to adopt reusables forms a key part of the retailer’s packaging and plastic reduction strategy. Last year it removed all disposable cups from its stores so myWaitrose members now have to bring their own reusable cup to claim their free tea and coffee, a move which saves 52 million cups a year.
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