Supermarket commits to going plastic free in five years

By agency reporter
January 17, 2018

Greenpeace has welcomed a commitment by Iceland, the UK’s leading frozen food retailer, to become the first UK supermarket to eliminate plastic packaging in all of its own brand products. Iceland has pledged to complete the process within the next five years, removing plastic completely.

John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said, “Last month a long list of former heads of Britain’s biggest retail groups wrote a joint statement to explain that the only solution to plastic pollution was for retailers to reject plastic entirely in favour of more sustainable alternatives like recycled paper, steel, glass and aluminium.

Iceland has taken up that challenge with its bold pledge to go plastic free within five years. It’s now up to other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge. The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they turn off the tap. They know the scale of systemic change we need, and yet their responses have been timid and piecemeal. Iceland has offered a more radical solution that shows the way forward for the sector.”

Iceland’s pledge will be an important step towards cutting down on the plastic generated by supermarkets in the UK each year. In its place, Iceland will be harnessing the latest technologies to create a range of packaging including paper and pulp trays along with paper bags which are fully recyclable through domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities, and therefore less harmful to the environment.

Iceland has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range.

Iceland Managing Director Richard Walker said, “The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival.

“The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.  Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018. This is a time for collaboration.

“There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”

Louise Edge, Senior Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace UK said, “Iceland have recognised the urgency of the plastics crisis, and are working towards a comprehensive solution in five years, rather than the government’s suggested twenty-five. We urge other supermarkets to follow suit and make firm commitments to move away from using disposable plastic packaging, and start by going plastic free in their own brands.”

* Greenpeace https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.