Waitrose pledges to be black plastic packaging free by end of 2019

Waitrose has pledged to not sell any own-label food in black plastic beyond 2019.

The retailer claims this is the earliest date that a supermarket has committed to removing black plastic from its shelves.

Waitrose has already removed 65% of black plastic from its fruit and vegetable packaging, and will stop using black plastic for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables by the end of this year.

Currently a great deal of black plastic used by supermarkets for food such as ready meals and puddings cannot be recycled, as lasers used by waste processors cannot sense the colour effectively. This means they are not identified for recycling.

Waitrose head of sustainability and responsible sourcing Tor Harris said: “Tackling the use of plastics across our business is a key priority for us, and we have committed that all our packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025. Our work to eliminate black plastic packaging from our shops sees us taking a step towards accomplishing this.

‘‘Not many people realise that black plastic is tough to recycle. As a retailer dedicated to reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, becoming black plastic free across all our own label products is the right thing to do.’’

Peter Maddox, director at charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), commented: “Plastic packaging has a vital job to preserve and protect products, particularly food. However, we all have a role to play to reduce problematic plastic packaging that cannot currently be recycled.

“Waitrose’s commitment is a positive step and supports the aims of our new plastics initiative, which will see the entire plastics supply chain working holistically to create a system where plastic is valued and never becomes waste.”


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