British supermarket chain Waitrose has pledged to use more Prevented Ocean Plastic (POP) in its own-label packaging as part of its ongoing commitments to sustainability.
The company, a subsidiary of high-end retailer John Lewis, plans to reuse plastic packaging that is discarded at high-risk coastal areas before it ends up in the ocean.
Produced by Bantam Materials International, POP packaging is supplied to Waitrose by its suppliers, including Sharpak Aylesham, Berry Gardens and M&H Plastics.
The company plans to use more than 100t of POP this year, the equivalent of saving almost four million plastic bottles from the ocean.
It is currently using POP across a range of its own label packaging, including fruit, vegetables, family and health products. Other product lines are expected to adopt the packaging in the near future.
Waitrose will be the UK’s first supermarket to use POP in packaging for 13 lines across its ready meal range, which is scheduled to launch later this year.
John Lewis Partnership Ethics and Sustainability director Marija Rompani said: “Our customers have told us they want to see more packaging made from recycled content on our shelves.
“With vast amounts of plastic already in the world, we are committed to repurposing where we can and using more sustainable options.
“There is more to do but we hope that by using more Prevented Ocean Plastics in our packaging, we can be part of the solution to this hugely significant global issue.”
Waitrose will use POP where possible as it works towards its goal of using a minimum of 30% recycled content in plastics.
The company’s own-label fruit plastic tray packaging is currently composed of 80% or more recycled content.
Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic are expected to end up in the sea. Last year, the POP scheme prevented more than 830 million bottles from entering the sea.
Earlier this month, Waitrose expanded the selection of products available to customers under its Unpacked refillable concept.
The retailer added 13 products in response to increasing demand for refillable products and a surge in sales at its four Unpacked stores.