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Environment

Supermarkets address plastic packaging issue

A month-long trial to remove plastic packaging in two Tesco Extra stores has begun. The Watford and Swindon stores have removed packaging from 45 different foods.

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Supermarkets are pledging to reduce the plastic on their products

The items of food included in the trial are apples, onions, mushrooms, peppers, bananas and avocados, all of which are now available to buy loose.

BBC Science Magazine revealed that as of 2015, approximately 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste has been generated, with 79% ending up in landfills of the natural environment.

As a result of startling figures such as these, there has been a significant spike in consumer demand for sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has backed moves such as this, pledging to ban all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042. At the start of 2018, May called on supermarkets to introduce “plastic-free” aisles and other initiatives.

Speaking to Evening Standard, Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s director of quality says: “We want to remove as much plastic as we can from our products, only using what is necessary to protect and preserve our food.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to keep reducing the amount of packaging we use and ensure everything on our shelves is fully recyclable.”

Whatever happens, we’re going to keep reducing the amount of packaging we use and ensure everything on our shelves is fully recyclable

Aldi has also begun a six-week trial in which it will stock plastic packaging-free cabbages and cauliflowers.

The trial is the recent in a string of initiatives by the supermarket to replace packaging in its stores with recyclable alternatives. The supermarket recently made the decision to replace hard-to-recycle black plastic trays on some of its fresh produce lines, with clear, recyclable alternatives.

Aldi hopes to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging across its own-brand products by 2022.

Further afield, a supermarket in Thailand has come up with a plastic alternative that not only replaces the hard-to-recycle material but offers its own additional positive benefits to the earth.

Rimping Supermarket in Chiangmai, is trialling a plastic alternative and has swapped plastic packaging on its vegetable products for banana leaves. As well as being suitable for use when cooking, the leaves are organic and easily compost – adding nutrients to the soil which will nurture new plants and crops.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter.


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