Sainsbury’s rolls out largest flexible plastic packaging recycling system

Following a successful trial in the North East of England, Sainsbury’s has rolled out an innovative new recycling system to a total of 520 supermarkets allowing customers to recycle all flexible plastic packaging which is not commonly accepted for kerbside collection by local authorities.

The front of store recycling points will make it easier than ever for customers to make more sustainable choices by offering a trustworthy recycling system where they can correctly dispose of flexible plastic packaging. This includes packaging such as crisp packets, food pouches, salad bags and biscuit and cake wrappers which 83% of UK local authorities currently don’t accept for recycling.

The expanded initiative has the potential to significantly decrease the amount of plastic packaging going to landfill, with a report from WRAP estimating that flexible film contributed towards 290,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2019.

The introduction of the new, market-leading recycling system by Sainsbury’s is the latest move in the retailer’s initiative to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle plastic in its own operations while continuing to make it easier for customers to recycle.

The news follows the announcement in May that Sainsbury’s joined the Flexible Plastic Fund – an initiative which aims to ensure flexible plastics are properly recycled. Although flexible plastic represents a fifth of all UK citizen plastic packaging, only 6% is collected for recycling currently.

Claire Hughes, Director of Product and Innovation at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re really excited to announce the mass rollout of the Flexible Plastics Recycling scheme in over 520 of our stores, helping our customers to recycle more of their plastic packaging, instead of it ending up as waste. Making recycling easier for our customers is a key part of our strategy to minimise the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, alongside our own ambitious target of reducing the use of plastics in our own operations by 50% by 2025.”

Sainsbury’s, as the first retailer to make a commitment to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025, has also led the way with the removal of single use plastic bags from loose produce, 70% reduction of plastic in its Taste the Difference and SO Organic lamb and steak packaging and removed over 297 tonnes of waste plastic by working with Prevented Ocean Plastic to repurpose plastic collected from the coast into packaging for its strawberry and fresh fish ranges.

The retailer has also been announced as the Principal Supermarket Partner for the United Nation’s international climate change conference, COP26, taking place this November.

For more information about Sainsbury’s commitment to Plan for Better visit: https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/sustainability/plan-for-better

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