Frozen food giant Iceland has committed to become the world's first major retailer to remove plastic packaging from its own brand products by 2023.
Over 1,000 of Iceland's products now come in a plastic tray or some form of plastic packaging. Some supermarkets have already made changes to some of their products to see an impact - Asda, for example, redesigned its own-brand bottles of water to make them lighter, which has saved 82 tonnes of plastic.
All trays and paper bags would be "fully recyclable" through domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities, Iceland said. A survey of 5,000 consumers found that 80% would endorse a supermarket's move to go plastic-free, while 91% would be more likely to encourage friends and family to shop there.
"Iceland's five year plastic free pledge puts the Government's own 25 year scheme to shame". A truckload is entering our oceans every minute.
"The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change".
The supermarket's decision to forgo plastic in all of its own products is an important step - which, hopefully, will convince more retailers and businesses to follow the lead.
"Alongside its support for a deposit return system, Iceland's commitment to go plastic-free by 2023 shows that powerful retailers can take decisive action to provide what their customers want, without the environment paying for it", she added. "This is a time for collaboration".
He added: "There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment".
If Iceland implements the proposed measures, the BPF warned of the likelihood of increasing the packaging weight, along with the carbon emissions, food waste and energy required to produce the packaging. "The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground".
"The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they turn off the tap", said John Sauven, Greenpeace UK director.
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