We began by putting our house in order at our head office by banning plastic water bottles and cups, and by stopping the use of non-recyclable coffee cups. Every member of staff was given a reusable aluminium water bottle. We also banned the sale of plastic straws in our stores.
We have reduced our own label plastic packaging usage by 29% over the two years since we made our pledge to eliminate it by the end of 2023. That is a total of 3,794 tonnes out of the 13,000 tonnes we were using in January 2018.
In October 2018 we removed 5p carrier bags from our tills removing 120 million of them a year from circulation. We are currently trialling our first plastic bag free store in Hackney, and offering reusable, heavyweight paper carrier bags in over 30 stores to assess customer reaction.
Across our range of approximately 1,500 own label products, we had reduced the number of lines packed in black plastic to 81 by July 2019, and ended all packing in black plastic by the end of January 2020. We have moved 74 frozen prepared meal lines out of non-recyclable black plastic and into paperboard-based trays, reducing the amount of plastic used by more than 80%.
In November, we wrote to over 400 suppliers of our own label products and branded goods inviting them to get involved in the work of plastic removal, receiving a positive response.
Read our 2019 Plastics Annual Report here
Read our 2018 Plastics Annual Report here