Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has become the first major retailer in the UK to pledge a 50% reduction in plastic packaging across its operations by 2025.
As part of the commitment, the retailer will focus on removing plastic from all branded and own-brand food packaging, as well as packaging across the company’s operations
Sainsbury’s is planning to introduce a new programme to support its new goal. It will focus on switching to alternative materials such as lighter-weight plastics and introducing refillable packaging.
The retailer has analysed its largest sources of plastic packaging and identified plastic milk bottles, fruit and vegetable packaging, fizzy drinks, water and fruit juices to be key areas.
Refillable or returnable bottles, or a reusable jug with milk in a lightweight plastic pouch, are being considered as alternative options for plastic bottles.
The company noted that this move also requires a change in customer behaviour.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “We have set ourselves a bold ambition because we understand that we urgently need to reduce our impact on the planet and to help drive change across our industry.
“Reducing plastic and packaging is not easy. Packaging plays a vital role in keeping our food safe and fresh and minimising food waste. We must, therefore, find alternatives to plastic that protect the quality of our food while minimising our impact on the environment.
“We can’t do this on our own and we will be asking our suppliers and our customers to work with us to help us make this important change.”
Sainsbury’s will work closely with food manufacturers, packaging suppliers, raw material scientists and other retailers, as well as waste and recycling industry players to achieve its commitment.
Sainsbury’s will also collaborate with Greenpeace and provide progress updates every six months.
Other commitments recently made by the company include removing lightweight loose produce bags by the end of this month and plastic trays.
In July, the retailer announced plans to replace black plastic trays used in chilled ready meals with alternative recyclable material.