From Crop to Consumption

Sainsbury’s to ditch plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables

Sainsbury’s has committed to cutting a further 1,284 tonnes of plastic this year.

This includes removing 489 tonnes worth of plastic bags, which are currently used for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items.

By September, paper bags will be available to customers for loose bakery items. Customers buying loose fruit and vegetables will either be able to bring their own bags or buy a reusable bag made from recycled materials.

Sainsbury’s has previously implemented measures that are already leading to a reduction of 8,101 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and “virgin plastic” every year. Its latest efforts bring this total to over 10,000 tonnes. This is in addition to its commitments to ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Sainsbury’s will also remove plastic cutlery from stores as well as plastic trays for asparagus and sweetcorn, plastic lids from cream pots, plastic trays for tomatoes, plastic trays for carrots, plastic sleeves from herb pots.

The company has also committed to replacing black plastic trays with recyclable alternatives, plastic film on fruit and vegetables with a recyclable alternative, PVC and polystyrene trays with recyclable alternatives, plastic trays for eggs with a fibre alternative, plastic cutlery for takeaway food with wooden alternatives.

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

Sainsbury’s recently shared bold commitments for removing and replacing plastic, while ensuring as many of its products as possible are made from recycled material and are recyclable after use.

This included a pledge to end the use of dark coloured plastics across fresh foods by the end of 2019 and entirely by March 2020. Today Sainsbury’s has confirmed black plastic trays will be replaced with recyclable alternatives by the end of the year, with black ready-meal trays replaced within the next two months.

Minimising its impact on the environment has been a focus at Sainsbury’s for many years. For example, it led the way in removing microbeads from own brand products and was one of the first to offer paper-only cotton buds.