Packaging has a crucial role to play in reducing damaged products and preventing food waste. Each year, more than 10 million tonnes of packaging is placed on the UK market. About half that amount goes to households, where it accounts for about 20% of the waste stream. The other half is used in the Commercial and Industrial sectors, where it accounts for about 10% of the waste stream. Source: WRAP
Packaging and recycling
In addition to technical and commercial issues, there is clear regulation relating to packaging. If a business makes, fills, sells or handles packaging or packaging materials, then they must comply with packaging regulations. Waitrose is a signatory of the Courtauld Commitment which was launched in July 2005 by the Government funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). By signing up to the Courtauld Commitment Waitrose has made a public commitment to support WRAP in delivering its waste prevention and resource optimisation objectives.
Over the past few years we have implemented a range of initiatives to use lightweight packaging, trial innovative packaging solutions and introduce more recycled and recyclable materials. One such initiative is the reduction of the thickness for all prepared salad and leaf plastic bags, which has been achieved without lowering quality or shortening the life of the product.
This enabled a 14.3% reduction in the weight of packaging used, as well as reducing the misting inside the bags and improved the quality of the seal. Smoked salmon packaging has also been reduced by 50%; the removal of paper labels on own-brand egg boxes is predicted to save 35 tonnes of packaging a year; and we have introduced wine bottles made from 60% recycled glass that deliver a 30% reduction in weight. The launch of essential Waitrose in 2009 saw the introduction of a number of lines with reduced packaging.