Iceland has launched an industry leading trial, removing plastic bags altogether from one of its stores, as it continues to lead the way in the fight against plastic.
The trial will run in Iceland’s Hackney store, with customers being offered extra-strong paper bags for 15p. The bags can hold up to 16kg – the equivalent of 70 packs of Iceland’s No Bull Burgers (226g per pack).
Lighter weight paper carrier bags (10p), jute bags (£1), Disney branded cotton bags (£1), and small paper bags for meat products will also be available, providing a complete range of plastic-free options for customers.
At the same time, Iceland will also trial the 15p paper bags alongside plastic bags for life (15p) in North Wales, Wirral and Cheshire, covering 25 stores. This additional trial will be rolled out across a further 15 stores in the Manchester area from 10th August and will be used to monitor consumer preference in a setting where the two options are offered side by side.
Based on current usage and estimated switching rates for the side by side trial, it is anticipated that the trials will collectively save over 210,000 plastic carrier bags from being newly purchased.
Both trials will run for six months, with the findings to be analysed throughout and used to inform Iceland’s long-term approach to replacing single use plastic carriers. The retailer removed plastic single-use carrier bags from all stores in 2018 and is working to explore non- plastic alternatives which meet the needs of customers and will support in challenging consumer behaviour.
Last year, Iceland was the first retailer globally to commit to remove all plastic from its own- label packaging by the end of 2023.
Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland, commented: “We know that many customers are using ‘bags for life’ only once and the retail industry needs to work together to challenge this behaviour and find alternative solutions. Over 1.2 billion plastic bags for life were sold last year in the UK and this needs to change drastically.
“These trials will help us to understand how our customers feel about removing one of the most common objects associated with plastic, the supermarket carrier bag, and how they respond to various alternatives. We’re looking forward to seeing how customers respond and using the results of the trials in our wider plans to reduce our plastic footprint.”
This is the latest in a series of industry leading trials which have seen the retailer launch the UK’s first in-store reverse vending machines and trial plastic free produce, offering fruit and vegetables in either loose format or alternative packaging.
Since making its commitment in January 2018, Iceland has reduced or removed plastic packaging across 81 lines and removed over 1,500 tonnes of plastic in its packaging.
For further information please visit www.sustainability.iceland.co.uk