UK’s Waitrose aiming to eradicate black plastic

UK supermarket chain Waitrose says it has hit its target to remove black plastic from hundreds of products.

The supermarket’s overall aim is to eradicate black plastic from all its own-label products. It’s now removed hard-to-recycle black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables. This adds up to a reduction of over 1,300 tonnes of black plastic per year, the company says.

This progress means Waitrose is more than half way to achieving its goal of removing black plastic from all its own-brand products by the end of 2019.

“Eliminating black plastic is a priority for us,” Waitrose & Partners Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture Tor Harris said.

“While removing it, we’ve 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’re making progress all the time and are determined to maintain our momentum. This is why we’re now looking at ready meals and other products.”

Other plastic initiatives

Waitrose is also encouraging customers to bring reusable containers. This means they can take home products from the fresh-service counters without needing plastic bags.

Shoppers have been able to bring their own clean, lidded containers for some time. But Waitrose has now increased awareness by putting up signs in meat and fish counters.

In a further move against plastic, the supermarket has also committed to replacing loose fruit and vegetable plastic bags with a home compostable alternative by spring 2019. It will also remove 5p single-use carrier bags by March 2019. All together, claims Waitrose, these measures will save 134 million plastic bags a year.

“Our long-term aim is to remove bags completely from our counters,” Mr Harris said. “Or to find a suitable alternative for meat and fish in the same way we have with compostable fruit and veg bags, which will be introduced this year.”

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