Waitrose & partners hits target to remove black plastic from hundreds of products

16 January 2019

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 and 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."

They have already reduced its packaging by almost 50% since 2009, and has set itself further targets:

  • It is determined to make all our own-brand packaging widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable. It 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. It aims to increase this to 80% by 2020 and 100% by 2023.
  • In 2019 it 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.
  • It is 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.

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