Applications Packaging Retail

UK retailer Iceland Plans to Eliminate Plastic Packaging

Retail development in the UK will have a substantial impact on the EU and US food and beverage packaging industry. The disruption of the plastic food packaging industry has started. The first bullet was shot.

UK retailer Iceland plans to eliminate plastic packaging for 1,400 private label products by 2023. 250 food and beverage suppliers have to migrate to paper, cellulose, metal, glass “or new, emerging technologies”. The subtlety will be to tackle product performance challenges. Iceland’s initiative has been in development for more than a year. The vast majority of Iceland’s customers are in favor of  plastic-free packaging. Most Food and packaging suppliers have responded positively. This may lead to an increase in packaging costs. No extra or minimal cost for the customers.

Dutch Retailer Ekoplaza joins the dance

The Dutch retailer Ekoplaza (74 store) made a similar move by unveiling a plastic-free aisle with 700 products, both perishable and shelf-stable, in its Amsterdam supermarket.

Ekoplaza’s plastic-free aisle includes products in a “partly bio-based and partly fossil-based” film that decomposes in 3-6 months when subjected to high humidity, oxygen and heat, according to Merva Koren, vice president-marketing with TIPA. TIPA is an Israeli firm that collaborated with Germany’s Bio4Pack to produce a laminate with the strength and transparency of polypropylene and polyethylene films.

ASDA, TESCO and US Retailers

  • The Asda chain is committed to a 10 percent cut in plastic used for store brands within 12 months.
  • Tesco pledged to cut in half the total weight of plastic packaging used compared to a 2007 baseline.
  • U.S. retailers remain silent.

Plastic Food Packaging Facts

  • 1 million plastic bottles are disposed of each minute worldwide and less than 9% are recycled.
  • Between 8 and 12 million tons of plastic are dumped into oceans every year.
  • The switch between glass and metal to PET was made possible because they had a higher cost and higher risk to be broken.
  • Glass and metal provide superior barrier properties than plastic.
  • Plastic and PET wave in the food packaging happened in the early 2000s.
  • Plastic recycling programs are not successful in solving the plastic waste problem.