Plastic packaging for all of the own brands of retailer Iceland would be eliminated in what is the first of its kind commitment by a major retailer.
With the aim to help end the “scourge” of plastic pollution, it would be just five years that the retailer would go completely plastic free. This supermarket chain primarily specialises in frozen food.
Domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities would recycle the new packaging materials – paper and pulp trays and paper bags, which would replace the current plastic packaging, the company said.
In a survey that was carried out recently by the company, 80% of 5,000 respondents were of the view that they would be willing to go completely plastic free, the supermarket said.
Iceland managing director, Richard Walker, said: “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.”
The retailer would also undertake a number of initiatives such as supporting a bottle deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and would make sure that all its packaging was fully recyclable and are ultimately recycled, he said.
Walker added: “there really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment” because creation of less environmentally harmful alternatives is technologically and practically possible.
Use paper-based food trays would be used by Iceland in the next few months to replace the plastic disposable straws that it makes use of for its own label range and new food ranges.
There is growing concern about the pollution of the world’s oceans by plastic waste and this is harming and killing wildlife like turtles and seabirds. And with this aspect in mind, the move by Iceland has been welcomed by environmental campaigners.
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said that it was “now up to other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge” and described the announcement a “bold pledge”.
As part of the Theresa May government’s environmental strategy, in the next 25 years, all avoidable plastic waste would be eliminated by the British government, the British government announced last week.
Samantha Harding, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Iceland are steadfastly laying the path that all supermarkets should be following.
“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.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)