UK supermarket chain cuts plastics use

UK supermarket chain Iceland has cut its use of plastics packaging by 29 per cent. 3,794 tonnes of plastics have been removed following the retailer’s pledge, two years ago, to remove plastics from all of its own label product packaging by the end of 2023.

Iceland’s plastics reduction has taken place across its high volume ranges such as frozen ready meals, where 74 lines have been moved from non-recyclable black plastics and into paperboard-based trays.

Iceland, which has over 950 stores across the country, has also made progress in addressing other difficult to recycle plastics, including PVC and polystyrene.

“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,” said Richard Walker, managing director at Iceland.

Walker added that Iceland is “now looking ahead to the next phase of our journey, whilst continuing to engage our customers by finding scalable and user friendly solutions, truly democratising choice to make sustainable packaging options an affordable reality for everyone.”

According to Iceland, collaboration with suppliers has been key to its progress. The retailer has engaged around 100 own label suppliers to establish working groups and set out frameworks for plastics removal, with a redevelopment plan set out for each line.

Meanwhile, Iceland has collaborated closely with its operations colleagues and conducted
research with customers to ensure that the solutions developed are fit for purpose. It is
also encouraging all of its branded suppliers to take a collaborative approach on plastics
packaging reduction.