September 26, 2023

Sainsbury’s Commits to Halve Plastic Packaging by 2025

Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, has announced its pledge to reduce plastic packaging waste by 50% in its stores by 2025. The company acknowledges that achieving this “bold ambition” will require changes in customer behavior, such as buying milk in plastic pouches. Sainsbury’s is also seeking ideas and collaboration from the public and business partners to achieve its goals.

Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, acknowledges that reducing plastic and packaging is a challenging task and emphasizes the need for collective action. The supermarket plans to work with its suppliers and customers to implement sustainable packaging solutions.

This announcement comes as MPs emphasize the priority of reducing packaging waste for retailers over simply replacing plastic with compostable or recyclable alternatives. The UK’s infrastructure is currently insufficient for effectively disposing of compostable or biodegradable materials, according to a parliamentary committee. The committee also emphasizes the importance of considering wider environmental factors, including the carbon footprint, when replacing plastic packaging.

Sainsbury’s has already begun implementing some measures, including removing all plastic bags from its fruit and vegetable sections by the end of the month. Customers will be encouraged to bring their own bags, purchase reusable bags made from recycled plastic bottles, or use price stickers for loose items.

The supermarket also plans to promote the use of customer-provided containers for products like shampoo, meat, and fish. Additionally, Sainsbury’s aims to increase the availability of loose products sold by weight, a strategy previously tested by Waitrose.

While Sainsbury’s considers reducing plastic rather than eliminating it in some cases, such as exploring milk pouches as an alternative to bottles, packaging campaign group Wrap highlights that plastic milk bottles are widely recycled in the UK. The recyclability of plastic pouches is currently limited. Nevertheless, Wrap commends the scale of Sainsbury’s ambition and the supermarket’s openness to innovative solutions and collaboration with suppliers.

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