Plastics and packaging
Removing unnecessary plastics is a priority for us and something we know is equally important to our customers. We’re removing unnecessary packaging in our supply chain where we can, and introducing alternative packaging materials to make recycling easier for customers.
Our ultimate aim is to eliminate unnecessary plastic and make all own-brand packaging reusable or made out of widely recyclable or home-compostable material by 2023.
We’ve made great progress already, with over 85% of own-brand packaging now meeting our recyclable, reusable or home compostable goal. But we know there’s more we need to do, and that’s why we've brought our target forward two years, to 2023.
‘Making sure our packaging works and is fit for purpose is just part of my job,' says Karen Graley, Partner and packaging manager.
'The other part is ensuring we meet our targets for making it as environmentally friendly as we can. We’ve pledged that by 2023, all own-label packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable, so we’re working with our suppliers and manufacturers to look at packaging alternatives.'
Plastic in our products
We’ve halved our packaging by almost 50% since 2009, taking steps to eliminate hard-to-recycle black plastic on fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables. We aim to meet our target of all own-brand packaging being widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023.
We no longer provide disposable coffee cups in our stores, have stopped selling packs of disposable plastic drinking straws and have switched our plastic stem cotton buds to paper. We were also the first supermarket to stop selling products containing microbeads in September 2016.
Here’s how else we’re reducing unnecessary packaging and plastics:
We encourage customers to bring their own clean, lidded reusable containers to our meat and fish counters to save plastic bags. Since 2017, we’ve reduced these bags by five million.
Plastics in our supply chain
We signed up to the Global Ghost Gear in 2008, an initiative which aims to protect marine life and minimise plastic pollution from abandoned fishing equipment. We’re also working with the fishing industry to find solutions to lost and discarded fishing equipment. We regularly share our plans at supplier and farming conferences to encourage sharing of ideas on ways to minimise plastic use.
Reaching beyond the supply chain
We want to do more than just tackle plastic use in our supply chains, products, stores and communities. That’s why we’re proud to have donated £500,000 to the Association of Commonwealth Universities to support academic fellowships which will drive solutions to plastic pollution around the world. We have also launched Plan Plastic – the Million Pound Challenge which provides grants of up to £300,000 to projects that rethink how we all use and dispose of plastic now or in the future.
Still looking for more ways to do your bit for the environment? See our top tips for reducing food waste at home >