Canadian food and pharmacy chain Metro has adopted a new policy for efficient management of its packaging and printed materials.

The new Packaging and Printed Materials Management Policy will cover its corporate, food and pharmacy operations and includes several commitments to reduce use and optimise practices.

The policy is based on four principles that include reducing the use of packaging and printed materials, implementing optimal design, selecting eco-responsible materials, and facilitating recovery and recycling.

The programme will enable the retailer to implement practices to reduce resources usage, limit product losses and reduce waste generation in order to tackle single-use plastics problem.

Metro president and CEO Eric La Flèche said: “This new policy is the result of rigorous teamwork and is part of our approach to continuously improve our practices.

“We know that there is growing interest in packaging – and plastic in particular – among many groups, including our customers. We are confident that the measures we are putting forward will responsibly and effectively address these challenges.”

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The food retail chain has also committed to reducing single-use plastic shopping bags by 50% across its food and pharmacy banners by the end of 2023. It will also help decrease overpackaging and single-use plastics in the fresh sections of its food stores, as well as minimise the weight of the paper used in the flyers for banners by 10% by the end of 2022.

It also aims to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or compostable, include sorting instructions in its packaging, and increase post-consumer materials to 45%.

"With this new policy, we remain committed to ongoing improvement and innovation."

The company plans to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles used across its administrative offices and distribution centres by the end of this year.

Metro public affairs and communications vice-president Marie-Claude Bacon said: “Our approach to managing packaging and printed materials has always rested on best practices and the collaboration between our teams and suppliers.

“With this new policy, we remain committed to ongoing improvement and innovation and are reaching out to our customers to join us in this major programme.”

Metro operates more than 600 food stores under Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics brands, and over 650 drugstores under the Jean Coutu, Brunet, Metro Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.