Iceland announces aim for plastic free own brand by 2023

Iceland is replacing plastic trays with ones made mainly of paper. Richard Walker managing director said retailers must take a lead in cutting pollution

Iceland has today become the first major retailer globally to set a target to eliminate plastic packaging from all its own brand products by 2023, arguing that the technologies now exist to switch to more environmentally-friendly forms of packaging. The UK's frozen food specialist announced that it aims to complete this process in the next five years. And Europe wants to make all plastic packaging recyclable or reusable by the end of the next decade.

The general public are fully on board with the need to tackle on plastic packaging waste, according to research.

We throw away mountains of plastic. "Iceland has offered a more radical solution that shows the way forward for the sector". "There is also the economic challenge of ensuring that the new packaging doesn't cost more".

All trays and paper bags would be "fully recyclable" through domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities, Iceland said. The business insists it is looking at its environmental objectives holistically.

Iceland has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range and new food ranges in paper packaging will hit the shelves in early 2018.

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Greenpeace echoed Walker's call for other retailers and food producers to do likewise.

He added: "The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they [the supermarkets] turn off the tap".

Walker said: "A truckload [of plastic] 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".

She pledged last week to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years as part of the government's environmental strategy.

One million tonnes of plastic is generated by United Kingdom supermarkets every year but experts have warned that the heavier weight of alternative packaging could result in an increase in carbon emissions. Growing and transporting food consumes a lot more energy than that used to make the packaging protecting it. Iceland's proposals target products that will have absolutely no impact on reducing marine litter, which in the United Kingdom typically comes from items littered outside our homes.

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