British supermarket Waitrose will eliminate black plastic packaging from its own-label products by the end of 2019, as it follows a series of pledges by supermarkets and companies to reduce their plastic usage.
Waitrose will not sell any of its own-label food in black plastic or use any black plastic for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.
The retailer has said it has already removed 65% of black plastic from its fruit and vegetable packaging.
It said: “Currently a great deal of black plastic used by supermarkets for food such as ready meals and puddings cannot be recycled as lasers used by waste processors cannot sense the colour effectively. This means they are not identified for recycling.”
Waitrose head of sustainability and responsible sourcing Tor Harris said: “Tackling the use of plastics across our business is a key priority for us and we have committed that all our packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025. Our work to eliminate black plastic packaging from our shops sees us taking a step towards accomplishing this.
‘‘Not many people realise that black plastic is tough to recycle. As a retailer dedicated to reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, becoming black plastic free across all our own-label products is the right thing to do.’’
Director of sustainablity charity WRAP, Peter Maddox, added: “Plastic packaging has a vital job to preserve and protect products, particularly food. However, we all have a role to play to reduce problematic plastic packaging that cannot currently be recycled.
“Waitrose’s commitment is a positive step and supports the aims of our new plastics initiative, which will see the entire plastics supply chain working holistically to create a system where plastic is valued and never becomes waste.”
Last week, frozen food retailer Iceland went one step further and announced it would eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products by the end of 2023.
Meanwhile, the European Union has announced a strategy to make all plastic packaging in the EU recyclable by 2030. Each year Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019