Earlier this week, British supermarket chain Iceland announced that it was ending the use of plastic packaging for their branded products, raising hopes that other retailers would follow the lead and introduce similarly substantial changes. Well, it looks like that change might be happening sooner than anyone could have expected! Another British supermarket chain, Waitrose, has just pledged to completely stop selling their branded food in black plastic packaging by 2019.
The popular chain has stated that reducing plastic use was a top priority and, moreover, it had already successfully stopped using black plastic trays for 65 percent of their fruit and vegetable packaging.
“We’ve set a deadline to completely phase out black plastic from all own label products by the end of 2019,” Waitrose announces on its website. “This will be a big step to helping us achieve our broader 2025 commitment for all packaging to be widely recyclable.”
According to the retailer’s website, Waitrose is also currently working with suppliers and manufacturers on developing and sourcing alternatives to plastic packaging. It has also committed to stop selling single-use plastic straws and replace them with non-plastic alternatives by September 2018.
Black plastic is a particularly challenging problem when it comes to plastic waste management precisely because of its color. The majority of black plastic is colored using carbon black pigments which make it impossible for it to be sorted by the optical sorting systems which are widely used in plastic recycling. In the end, black plastic packaging cannot be recycled and almost automatically becomes part of the ever-growing amount of environmental plastic pollution.
Removing black plastic trays from shelves is a wonderful step in the direction of a world without excess plastic waste. We hope that other retailers carry on this trend by removing plastic from their chains. Ditching plastic trays or straws might seem like a small action, but when you consider the thousands of items sold and disposed of every single day, these small moves add up to major positive change.
To learn how you can help the planet by using less plastic, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: Herry Lawford/Flickr