Waitrose removes black plastic from hundreds of own label products

Waitrose removes black plastic from hundreds of own label products
In place of black plastic: Waitrose's Duchy organic tomato packaging

Black plastic has been removed from hundreds of products according to Waitrose & Partners as part of the retailer’s aim make its own-label range more eco-friendly.

The retailer has now removed hard-to-recycle black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg  – amounting to a reduction of over 1,300 tonnes of black plastic per annum.

Waitrose & Partners said it is now “more than half-way” to achieving its goal to remove black plastic on all its own brand products by the end of 2019.

The majority of black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments which do not enable the pack to be easily sorted by the systems widely used in plastics recycling.

As a result, black plastic packaging can commonly end up as residue and disposed of in landfill.

Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “Eliminating black plastic is a priority for us.

“While removing it we have also taken the opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic of any colour by removing trays from fruit and veg like apples, broccoli and pak choi.

“We are making progress all the time and are determined to maintain our momentum which is why we’re now looking at ready meals and other products so we can achieve our aim of removing all black plastic from our own-label products by the end of 2019.”

A recent example of packaging innovation to eradicate the use of black plastic include the retailer’s Duchy organic tomato packaging which partly uses punnets made from tomato vines, which would otherwise have gone to waste, with recycled cardboard.