UK supermarkets accelerate action to reduce plastic

August 15, 2019

Almost all of the UK's major supermarket chains have signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, which launched in April 2018.

The pact, led by sustainability experts at WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), aims to tackle plastic waste by bringing together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain, UK governments and NGOs.


More than 120 organisations, including major food and drink brands, manufacturers, retailers and plastic reprocessors, have signed up to hit a series of targets by 2025.


These include:

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (re-use) delivery models.

  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted. 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.


UK supermarket chain Tesco has said it intends “to remove as much plastic as possible” over the coming years in a move indicative of the measures being implemented by other supermarkets in the country as they scramble to reduce non-biodegradable packaging from their businesses.


Sainsbury's have removed plastic packaging from a range of fruit and vegetables including sweetheart and savoy cabbages - a move they say will save 100 tonnes of plastic packaging waste. Sainsbury's say they reduce their non-recyclable plastic and 'virgin plastic' use by 8,101 tonnes each year.


Aldi have reduced plastic packaging on a range of fruit and vegetables and have pledged to scrap all single-use plastic bags. What's more, all of Aldi's own-label packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022 (where it does not have a detrimental impact on quality, safety or increase food waste).

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