Iceland has announced a reduction of 29% in its own label plastics packaging usage, two years on from the retailer’s industry leading pledge to remove plastic packaging from all own label products by the end of 2023. The retailer was the first supermarket in the world to make such a commitment and remains the only UK food retailer to have pledged to remove plastic in its entirety from its own label range.
The 29% plastic reduction reflects a removal of 3,794 tonnes out of the 13,000 tonnes the business was using in January 2018, saving the equivalent weight of 36 blue whales. Iceland has invested heavily in making plastic free, sustainable solutions accessible to its millions of customers.
The retailer has made significant progress across its most popular and high volume ranges, such as frozen ready meals, where 74 lines have been moved from non-recyclable black plastic and into paperboard-based trays, reducing the amount of plastic in ready meal trays by more than 80%. In addition to removing black plastic, Iceland has also made significant progress in addressing other difficult to recycle plastics, including PVC and polystyrene.
Iceland has also announced a series of industry leading trials, including launching the UK’s first plastic bag free store, a reduced plastic Christmas range, and installation of reverse vending machines in stores. These were the first machines to be launched in UK supermarkets and have so far collected over 1.2 million plastic bottles, rewarding customers with over £120,000 in 10p vouchers.
Through the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation (IFCF) partnership with marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), in April 2019 over 45,000 volunteers were mobilised to take part in the UK’s Big Spring Beach Clean, and collected almost 72 tonnes of marine plastic at over 750 community clean up events. The two charities also hosted the UK’s first ever Plastic Free Awards in November 2019, celebrating the country’s most impactful activists, campaigner and influencers.
Read our Plastics Annual Report 2019 here.
Read the full press release here.