The FINANCIAL — UK retailer Iceland revealed it has cut 29% of its yearly plastic usage. The retailer was the first globally to make such a commitment and remains the only supermarket in the UK to have pledged to remove plastic in its entirety from its own label range. Iceland stated that 74 of its frozen meal lines have been moved from non-recyclable black plastic and into paperboard-based trays.
Iceland has announced that it has cut the use of plastics in the packaging of its store-brand products by 29%, two years after vowing to remove plastics completely from the category by 2023. The reduction has resulted in removing 3,794 tonnes of plastics from its operations, which is equivalent to the weight of 36 blue whales, ESM reported.
“We have set out our aim to remove plastic packaging from our own label range completely by 2023. This work has already begun. Our Mumbai Street Co and Mexicana street food meal ranges are in paper-based trays, saving 850 tonnes of non-recyclable black plastic so far. In the counter above we will monitor our progress in real time as we deliver against our plan. More plastic has been produced in the last decade than in the previous century – and unless it has been incinerated, every bit of plastic ever made still exists. Far too much of it is ending up in the world’s oceans. Our MD Richard Walker and Greenpeace Director John Sauven visited New Brighton to meet beach cleaners and talk about the urgent reasons for Iceland’s action” company stated.
In 1986 Iceland became the first UK supermarket to remove artificial colourings, flavourings, non-essential preservatives and monosodium glutamate from its own brand products, two decades before some of its major rivals. Also, in 2008 Iceland became the only supermarket in the UK to sell plastic-free chewing gum, according to the company.
The retailer was the first globally to make such a commitment and remains the only supermarket in the UK to have pledged to remove plastic in its entirety from its own label range. Iceland has said its commitment to reduce plastic usage wont hit customers in the pocket and is “investing heavily in making plastic free, sustainable solutions accessible to its millions of customers.” The retailer said it has seen significant “wins” across high volume ranges, such as frozen ready meals, where 74 lines have been moved from non-recyclable black plastic and into paperboard-based trays. Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland, commented: “We received overwhelming support from the public when we announced our commitment back in January 2018, and I’m enormously proud of the progress we’ve made over the past two years, Deeside wrote.
Iceland said it engaged almost 100 own label suppliers to establish working groups and set out frameworks for plastic removal, with a redevelopment plan set out for each and every line. The retailer also collaborated with operations colleagues and conducted research with customers to ensure that solutions developed were fit for purpose. Iceland’s wider war on plastic includes a large-scale trial which has reduced plastic across produce lines by 93 per cent, the UK’s first plastic bag free store, the offer of a reduced plastic Christmas range, and installation of reverse vending machines in stores – which have so far collected over 1.2 million plastic bottles, Retail Gazette.
Iceland managing director Richard Walker said: “The scale of the challenge we have taken on is huge, partly because of the lack of alternative solutions in some instances, the infrastructure in the manufacturing industry, which in many cases is built around plastic usage, and of course the fact that we are the only retailer to have made a ‘totality’ commitment.” Headquartered in Deeside, Wales, Iceland focuses on selling frozen food and groceries. The retailer has more than 950 stores across the UK, Packaging Getaway wrote.