Sainsbury’s has announced an ambitious new commitment to reduce plastic packaging by 50% by 2025

Reusable produce Bags

Image: Sainsbury’s has committed to reducing plastic packaging by 50% by 2025. Photo: courtesy of Sainsbury’s.

British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has unveiled plans to decrease the usage of plastic packaging by 50% by 2025.

The new target is comprised of all branded food packaging, Sainsbury’s brand food packaging and packaging across all of Sainsbury’s operations.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: “We have set ourselves a bold ambition because we understand that we urgently need to reduce our impact on the planet and to help drive change across our industry.

“Reducing plastic and packaging is not easy. Packaging plays a vital role in keeping our food safe and fresh and minimising food waste. We must therefore find alternatives to plastic that protect the quality of our food while minimising our impact on the environment.”

Sainsbury’s has committed to halving plastic packaging by 2025

Sainsbury’s currently uses around 120,000 tonnes of plastic packaging per annum. It reduced plastic packaging by 1% in the last year.

As part of its commitment, Sainsbury’s will introduce a programme to switch to alternative materials, use lighter-weight plastics, and introduce refillable packaging.

Based on the analysis of its plastic footprint, the supermarket chain will focus on plastic milk bottles, packaging for fruit and vegetables, fizzy drinks, water and fruit juices.

Sainsbury’s is assessing alternative options to launch refillable bottles, returnable milk bottles and reusable jug with milk in a lightweight plastic pouch.

For the achievement of its goals, Sainsbury’s will pioneer new ways to work with food manufacturers, packaging suppliers, raw material scientists and other retailers, as well as the waste and recycling industry.

Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign head Louise Edge said: “Last year we ranked UK supermarkets on their plastic policies and Sainsbury’s came last in the league table.

“This commitment from Sainsbury’s to cut plastic by 50% by 2025 is a victory for the tens of thousands of customers who lobbied them to do better on plastic.

“We commend Sainsbury’s for listening and recognising that huge plastic reduction and bringing in refillable packaging at scale are vital to tackling the plastic pollution crisis.

“Sainsbury’s should prioritise these solutions rather than switching to other types of throwaway packaging and we stand ready to help them achieve this ambitious goal.”

In July this year, Sainsbury’s announced that it will replace black plastic trays with recyclable plastic for chilled ready meals, as part of its sustainable efforts.

The supermarket chain said that it is replacing the black pigment material earlier used for ready meal trays with natural CPET, a form of recyclable plastic, across its stores in the country.