Ian Schofield, own packaging & labels manager, appeared on BBC Breakfast to explain the supermarket’s plans. 

Supermarket chain Iceland is committing to become the first major retailer to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own brand products by the end of 2023.

The supermarket is challenging itself to complete its goal within the next five years. According to the company this will be an important step towards cutting down on the 1 million tonnes of plastic generated by supermarkets in the UK each year. In its place, Iceland will be creating a range of packaging comprising paper and pulp trays along with paper bags which are fully recyclable through domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities, and therefore less harmful to the environment.

Iceland has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range. And its new food ranges, which are set to hit the shelves in early 2018, will feature paper-based rather than plastic food trays.

The supermarket will be providing regular updates on key milestones during the next five years as it transitions to plastic-free packaging.

Iceland managing director, Richard Walker commented, ‘The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival.

‘The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change. Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018. This is a time for collaboration.

‘There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.