Discount supermarket chain Lidl has today announced that it would become the first UK supermarket to introduce packaging made from ocean-bound plastic collected from South-East Asia.

Ocean-bound plastic is defined as plastic found within 50km of an ocean coastline.

The packaging will be developed in partnership with sustainable seafood supplier Copernus, packaging manufacturer Sharpak, and ocean-bound plastic supplier Bantam Materials as part of its Prevented Ocean Plastic programme.

The material will be used to package 50% of Copernus’ fresh fish products, including salmon and white fish, and will be rolled out from 30 March 2020.

Lidl GB’s head of corporate social responsibility Georgina Hall said: “By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, according to data from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“The majority of ocean plastic enters the sea from ten main entry points, eight of which are in Asia. Countries like those in South East Asia lack the waste management infrastructure to manage this problem, which is often overwhelmed by population growth or tourism.

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“We are proud to be the first UK supermarket introducing packaging incorporating plastic that would have otherwise ended up in the ocean, helping to tackle the problem directly as part of our commitment to prevent plastics ending up as waste.

“We are actively looking to extend this innovative solution to other product lines to help reduce the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans and keep our environments healthy.”

Material will be collected from coastlines around South East Asia, preventing the equivalent of 2.5 million plastic water bottles from entering the ocean. It aims to use the material to prevent over 60 tonnes of plastic entering the ocean each year.

The packaging will be labelled as ‘widely recyclable’ in compliance with the On-Pack Recycling Label guidelines, a scheme which aims to improve recycling via retailer and brand packaging.

The retailer is also collaborating with ‘Project STOP’, which focuses on finding circular economy solutions to marine plastic pollution in South East Asia.

Packaging Gateway has approached Lidl for comment.