Supermarket company SPAR Group has announced initiatives to phase out harmful plastics and contribute to the reduction of non-recycled multi-layered materials in the ocean and landfills.

In 2023, SPAR Group recycled 19,000 tonnes of cardboard and plastic through reverse logistics operations.

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All its carrier bags are now made from 100% recycled materials with a minimum of 70% post-consumer waste, and are 100% recyclable, diverting 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills each year. These numbers represent a 40% drop in the carbon footprint of SPAR Group’s production.

Brown plastic bottles are being recycled and repurposed into reusable SPAR shopping bags, woven from recycled PET [polyethylene terephthalate] into a polyester fibre. This is alongside a long-term vision to establish recycling stations in stores to repurpose the bags into blankets.

All extra shelf-life SPAR 2L Fresh Milk cartons are also 100% recyclable and made from 87% renewably sourced materials. The cartons carry information about the circular economy, educating shoppers on how to actively participate in recycling.

The group’s decision to replace coloured lids with white lids on SPAR Fresh Milk plastic bottles, making recycling easier and aligning with circular economy principles, earned the company the Platinum Design Award in the SAPRO Recycled Plastics Product Award in late 2023.

In partnership with Supercart, SPAR Group has created trolleys using recycled milk bottles, diverting more waste from landfills.

SPAR Group sustainability executive Kevin O’Brien commented: “We’re deliberate in the development of eco-friendly initiatives and alternatives, including the utilisation of responsibly sourced raw materials, all of which make a difference in the elimination of problematic plastic.”

The group owns the SPAR retail brand but supports a network of independent retailers who trade under the brand through its distribution centres.

SPAR Slovenia recently revealed its plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags from its fruit and vegetable department.