UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s launched a large-scale reduced-plastic packaging trial for its fresh floral ranges across 167 Sainsbury’s stores, making it the first UK retailer to do so.

Starting this week for twelve weeks, the trial will see plastic sleeves and sticky tape removed from more than one million fresh florals and bouquets. The plastic packaging and tape will be replaced with recyclable paper packaging and recyclable paper tape, saving over ten tonnes of plastic.

Sainsbury’s said it will closely monitor the supply chain process and customer feedback over the next 12 weeks to assess the overall performance of the trial before making a decision on next steps.

Sainsbury’s fresh florals packaging trial is a part of its larger goal announced earlier this month to reduce plastic packaging by 50% by 2025 across its food operations.

Sainsbury’s brand director Judith Batchelar said: “We are proud to be the first retailer to trial a large scale reduction of fresh floral plastics across 167 of our stores. Our customers have made it clear that they want us to reduce plastic packaging.

“This initiative is very much a testing and learning activity for us, so we will be seeking feedback from customers as well as getting a better understanding of how our supply chain manages the new packaging throughout.

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“This latest trial supports our broader goal of reducing, reusing, replacing and recycling more plastic.”

UK retailers making moves to improve sustainability for fresh floral packaging

Other retailers have also pledged to reduce the use of plastic packaging for fresh florals.

Earlier this year, UK supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners launched its new packaging-free retail concept ‘Waitrose Unpacked,’ which included the removal of packaging from hundreds of products, such as flowers and indoor plants.

Last year, UK supermarket chain Morrisons replaced the plastic wrapping used on its bouquets with 100% recyclable waterproof hydro paper.

Morrisons also announced last year its ‘wonky flowers’ project that would see it sell flowers that haven’t developed properly due to dry and hot weather conditions, to reduce waste and make flowers more affordable to customers.