Sainsbury’s has pledged to halve the amount of plastic used in its stores by 2025.
Britain’s second biggest supermarket chain said it was considering ways to cut down the amount of plastic packaging it uses including introducing refillable and returnable milk bottles.
It reduced plastic packaging by 1% in 2018. The supermarket currently uses almost 120,000 tonnes of plastic packaging each year.
The supermarket is considering introducing refillable and returnable milk bottles
Sainsbury’s said a “transformational leap in thinking” was required to slash that figure during the next six years.
It said it would switch to alternative materials and use lighter-weight plastics, focusing on milk bottles, fruit and vegetables, fizzy drinks, water and fruit juices.
Chief executive Mike Coupe said while plastic plays an important part in keeping food safe and fresh, alternatives needed to be found to help the business achieve its ambitious goal.
“Reducing plastic and packaging is not easy,” he said
“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.”
Sainsbury’s currently uses almost 120,000 tonnes of plastic packaging each year
Action already being taken by Sainsbury’s includes removing plastic trays from asparagus and some tomatoes and carrots.
Fresh food black plastic trays will be replaced with recyclable alternatives (6,000 tonnes) by end of this year, and plastic film on fruit and vegetables will be replaced with a recyclable alternative by the end of 2020.
Fresh water stands are being made available for customers to refill their own water bottles in 326 supermarket cafes across the country, while shoppers are also being encouraged to bring their own containers to meat and deli counters.
Deposit return schemes are also being piloted so customers can return recyclable packaging more easily.
As part of its latest drive, members of the public and its business partners are being invited to share their ideas on the Sainbury’s website.
The supermarket is also hosting a summit, bringing together branded suppliers and other industry bodies to discuss what more could be done to tackle the issue.
Last month Tesco pledged to ban any brands that use excessive packaging from its stores.