Sainsbury’s to pluck 12 million plastic bottles from shorelines to reel in ocean pollution

Sainsbury’s continues to send plastic packing by packaging fresh fish and strawberries using Prevented Ocean Plastic – high-quality certified recycled plastic that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution.

The packaging, which marks the latest step by the retailer to remove, reduce, recycle and reuse plastic from its operations, enables customers to make sustainable choices in-store and online while also preventing nearly 12 million plastic bottles (297 tonnes) from entering the ocean each year.

Working closely with packaging supplier Sharpak, over a third (34%) of Sainsbury’s fresh fish and three quarters (80%) of strawberry punnets will be sold using packaging made from plastic rescued from coastal areas.

From this year, over 39.5 million items bought from Sainsbury’s will be packaged using plastic bottles rescued from polluting the ocean. A figure that is set to continue to rise thanks to ongoing changes made by the retailer, including changes to the packaging for its range of strawberries. This sustainable swap to the strawberry punnets will help to prevent plastic from 500,000 bottles from beaches and coastlines entering the ocean.

Together with the support of Prevented Ocean Plastic, Sainsbury’s commitment to social and environmental change will contribute to the creation of almost 6,531 days of employment for plastic bottle collectors, helping to support and empower coastal communities around the world that are at risk of ocean plastic pollution.

Claire Hughes, Director of Product, Packaging and Innovation at Sainsbury’s, said: “Using Prevented Ocean Plastic is one change we’re making to our supply chain to help us remove, reduce, recycle and reuse plastic. Not only will it have a positive environmental impact by preventing plastic from polluting the ocean, but it will also have an important social impact by allowing our customers to make sustainable choices and support overseas coastal communities at risk of ocean plastic pollution.”

Patrick Gautier, UK Division Director for Sharpak, added: “I’d like to thank Sainsbury’s for identifying and embracing this real and positive action to reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution, support coastal collection communities and to help educate consumers that plastic is a valuable resource that can be recycled & not to be littered into environment.”

Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials the supplier of Prevented Ocean Plastic, said: “Choosing products made from recycled content ensures recycling has already happened and use of new plastic has been reduced. We developed Prevented Ocean Plastic to be part of the solution to ocean plastic pollution and are delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s so they can provide their customers with a better plastic choice.”

Since pledging to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025, Sainsbury’s has removed thousands of tonnes of plastic across the business. These changes include eliminating 290 million loose produce plastic bags, rigid plastic trays from tomatoes, courgettes, kiwis & baby corn (216 tonnes), plastic overlids removed from cream pots (114 tonnes), zip removal on frozen fruit bags (28 tonnes) along with removing and replacing difficult to recycle black plastic, PVC and Polystyrene from own brand packaging (6,400 tonnes).

Earlier this year, the retailer removed plastic straws from its own brand lunchbox carton range, cut down the plastic packaging on its own brand pancake range by 86% and introduced new trial recycling facilities in 63 stores, allowing customers to recycle Polypropylene (PP) plastic film – such as bread bags, frozen food bags, biscuits and cake wrappers. Along with this, Sainsbury’s announced a mass roll out of its first plant-based own-brand tea bags.

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.

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