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Iceland vows to go plastic-free on own brands within 5 years

Frozen food store Iceland wants to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products (Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images)
Frozen food store Iceland wants to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products (Rui Vieira/PA Images via Getty Images)

Iceland aims to become the first British supermarket to go plastic-free on its own-label products.

The chain says it wants to remove plastic packaging from about 1,000 products by 2023.

New ranges at its network of about 900 stores will be packaged using a paper-based tray.

MORE: UK’s shopkeepers welcome moves to extend 5p plastic bag levy

Iceland, well known for its extensive range of frozen foods, says says it is aiming to remove plastics wherever feasible.

Nigel Broadhurst, joint managing director of Iceland, told the BBC: “Take a typical Iceland prepared meal, it is currently in a black plastic tray.

“That black plastic is the worst possible option in terms of toxins going into the ground and the ability to recycle that product.

“Take oranges, they come in a net; apples come in a plastic bag. It doesn’t take a lot of shift to expect that you could put an orange net round an apple.”

MORE: Tesco bins 5p plastic carrier bags forever – now you’ll have to get a bag for life

The UK uses 3.7 million tonnes of plastic a year, according to trade organisation Plastics Europe.

Images of sea creatures snared in plastic waste upset many viewers of Blue Planet 2 (BBC)
Images of sea creatures snared in plastic waste upset many viewers of Blue Planet 2 (BBC)

Iceland’s move follows comments made by prime minister Theresa May, who described plastic waste as “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”.

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

The 5p levy on supermarket single-use plastic bags is also to be extended to corner shops.

MORE: May pledges to cut all avoidable plastic waste by 2042

Iceland’s joint managing director Richard Walker added: “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.”

He said the onus was on retailers to take a stand.

Programmes such as Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II also sparked renewed public interest in plastic waste as it highlighted how the world’s oceans and sea wildlife were being affected by waste.

Other supermarkets have also been talking about introducing plastic-free aisles, while companies such as Pret-a-Manger are offering discounts to people who use their own mugs for their coffee.

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