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Sainsbury's will have cut 10,000 tonnes of plastic by the end of the year

Sainsbury's supermarket, incorporating a Lloyds Pharmacy and an Argos store, in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

Sainsbury’s has already reduced its plastic waste by over 1,800 tonnes in recent years, and now it is about to bring that total to over 10,000.

The supermarket has announced it will be the first in the UK to cut out plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items, as part of a move to reduce plastic waste by an additional 1,284 tonnes this year.

By September, paper bags will be available to customers for loose baked goods. Customers buying loose fruit and veg will either be able to bring their own bags or buy a re-usable bag made from recycled materials.

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Additionally, the supermarket will ditch all plastic cutlery, as well as trays for asparagus, sweetcorn, carrots and tomatoes, lids from cream pots, and sleeves from herb pots.

And plastic, PVC and polystyrene trays, along with plastic film on fruit and veg, will be replaced with recyclable alternatives.

Mike Coupe, CEO, said: “We are absolutely committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s stores.

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“Our customers expect us to be leading the way on major issues like this, so I am determined to remove and replace plastic packaging where we can and offer alternatives to plastic where packaging is still required to protect a product.”

Earlier this year, the supermarket announced its commitment to ensuring all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

This included a pledge to end the use of dark coloured plastics, which are difficult to recycle, entirely by March 2020.

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On Wednesday, Waitrose began testing its first ever “refill zone”. Customers can fill their own reusable containers with 28 different dried goods, frozen fruit and veg, wines, beers and coffees.

If successful, it will allow the supermarket to significantly cut down on plastic packaging.

Earlier this year, Tesco began trialling technology to make plastic packaging recyclable.