Sainsbury’s has today committed to become the first supermarket to entirely remove plastic bags for fresh fruit, vegetables and bakery items in all stores - in a move which it says will help cut a further 1,284 tonnes of plastic.
By September, the chain said that paper bags will be available to customers for loose bakery items, while customers buying loose fruit and vegetables will either be able to bring their own bags or buy a re-usable bag made from recycled materials, removing 489 tonnes of plastic.
It is also to remove plastic cutlery from stores as well as getting rid of plastic trays for asparagus, sweetcorn, tomatoes and carrots, plastic lids from cream pots and plastic sleeves from herb pots.
Sainsbury’s chief executive 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.”
The news comes after Sainsbury’s recently unveiled plans end the use of dark coloured plastics - which are difficult to recycle - 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.
Many of Britain's major supermarket chains have recently taken steps towards reducing their plastic use. Waitrose this week launched a pilot scheme at its store in Oxford which created a dedicated refillable zone including wine and beer on tap, the UK's first supermarket frozen fruit ‘pick and mix’ and a borrow-a-box scheme.