ICELAND SUPERMARKET bans plastic: UK Supermarket chain becomes first in the world to remove plastic packaging from ALL its own-label products
- Iceland supermarket has become the first to remove plastic packaging in full
- All it's own-label products will have no plastic packaging within five years
- It puts pressure on other supermarkets to follow suit a lower levels of pollution
- Packaging on 1,400 product will be replaced across more than 250 suppliers
- Last week Theresa May set a 25-year deadline to banish 'avoidable' plastic
A UK supermarket will be the first in the world to remove plastic packaging from all of its own-label products. 'ICELAND's' landmark move puts pressure on its rivals to follow suit amid public demands to turn back the tide of plastic pollution. The company, which has more than 900 stores, has a five-year plan to ditch plastic from all of its own-brand products.
Packaging on 1,400 product lines will be replaced, and the changes involve more than 250 suppliers. First to go will be plastic instant meal trays in favour of wood-pulp alternatives made in Britain. Plastic bags used for frozen vegetables and other food will then be dropped in favour of paper alternatives.
ICELAND, which has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own range of products, is also working on alternatives for plastic bottles and milk cartons. Last week Theresa May set a 25-year deadline to banish 'avoidable' plastic and called on supermarkets to introduce plastic-free aisles.
ICELAND's move – the latest victory for the Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign – suggests it is possible to go further and faster.
ICELAND managing director Richard Walker said yesterday: 'The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics."
"A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival."
"The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change."
"Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit. This is a time for collaboration."
The packaging - currently made from polypropylene plastic - will be replaced with so-called flow wrap made from paper
New wood pulp trays will replace Iceland plastic ready meal trays with wood within five years
The switch from plastic will cost ICELAND money, but it pledged there will be no corresponding rise in prices.
The company's move comes amid mounting concern about the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, and follows news that China will no longer take British waste plastic for recycling, meaning big business will have to clean up its own mess. The media has highlighted the huge amount of excess plastic packaging used by retail stores, and turned the spotlight on waste and blight associated with bags, microbeads, bottles and plastic-lined coffee cups.
ICELAND is harnessing the latest technology to create new plant-based 'green' packaging options, which are fully recyclable through household waste collections.
Its new ready meal trays are wood pulp rather than plastic, and although they will initially be coated with a thin layer of plastic, the supermarket giant plans to replace this with a water-based, non-plastic spray coating.
ICELAND's landmark move puts pressure on its rivals to follow suit amid public demands to turn back the tide of plastic pollution. ICELAND cannot dictate the packaging used by the big food brands it stocks, but it will encourage them to switch away from plastic.
Recently, some of retail's biggest figures, including former bosses of Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Debenhams, signed a statement calling for an end to throwaway plastic packaging. They said: 'Over the past decade Britain's retailers have in the main focused on recycling in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of the plastic waste they produce.
'But we have to accept that this isn't enough – by recycling plastic, we are merely recycling the problem. It is therefore essential that retailers and packaging manufacturers work together to turn off the tap of throwaway packaging.'
ICELAND own branded burgers are put into a plastic bag and then inside a cardboard box. In future, the bag will be removed and they will go straight in the box
Greenpeace executive director John Sauven last night congratulated ICELAND on 'its bold pledge', adding: 'It's now up to other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge.
'The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they turn off the tap. They know the scale of systemic change we need, and yet their responses have been timid and piecemeal. Iceland has offered a more radical solution that shows the way forward for the sector.'
Now all we have to do is convince all the other supermarket giants of the western world to reduce or eliminate plastic packaging like this brave British company. Easy, huh?