Packaging Retail Self-Regulation & Commitments

Sainsbury’s Trials Pre-Cycle Scheme Among Plastic Reduction Plans

Sainsbury’s, which was recently targeted by environmental campaigners, has announced several measures to tackle plastic waste.

The retailer will introduce a trial scheme for customers to ‘pre-cycle’ by providing an area for customers to remove unwanted primary and secondary packaging in store and leave it for recycling.

This means that food remains protected through the supply chain, but offers the customer the option to recycle before they take the item home.

Sainsbury’s also said it will stop using dark coloured plastics (which are difficult to recycle) across fresh foods by the end of 2019 and entirely by March 2020.

It also announced plans to remove all plastic packaging from Christmas crackers this year.

In addition, from today, Sainsbury’s will remove plastic packaging from sweetheart and savoy cabbages, cutting a further 100 tonnes of plastic packaging over the next year, as part of a drive to significantly reduce plastic packaging.

Sainsbury’s has previously implemented measures that are already leading to a reduction of 8,101 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and use of “virgin plastic” every year.

Over the next twelve months, Sainsbury’s will remove a further 1280 tonnes of plastic from products and ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Sainsbury’s four-point plan for cutting plastic use falls under the four headings of remove, reduce, replaceand recycle.

For the first time Sainsbury’s is setting out in detail where plastic is being completely removed, where plastic is being reduced and where non-recyclable plastic is being replaced with recyclable alternatives.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said: “We are serious about reducing plastic. For many years, Sainsbury’s has prioritised sustainability and sought innovative solutions to reduce plastic packaging and increase recycling. Today’s announcements show what we have already achieved and demonstrate our firm commitments for the future to make significant reductions in plastic use.”

Despite the environmentally friendly steps Sainsbury’s outlines, it has been targeted by Greenpeace after the pressure group found the supermarket had received the most Twitter complaints about its use of plastics in 2018.

Greenpeace put its own spin on Sainbury’s ‘Live Well For Less’ tagline, by putting up a banner that read ‘Couldn’t Care Less’ beneath the Sainsbury’s logo at its London HQ.


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