Sainsbury’s to remove plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items

Date published: 11 June 2019

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s will be removing plastic bags from loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items later this year as part of an entire chain-wide commitment to reduce plastic usage.

Sainsbury’s has committed to cutting a further 1,284 tonnes of plastic this year, including removing 489 tonnes’ worth of plastic bags used in the produce and bakery sections.

By September 2019, paper bags will be available to customers for loose bakery items, whilst customers buying loose fruit and vegetables will be able to bring their own bags or buy a re-usable bag made from recycled materials.

The move will be rolled out to all stores that month, including Littleborough and Heaton Park.

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said: “We are absolutely committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s stores.

“Our customers expect us to be leading the way on major issues like this, so I am determined to remove and replace plastic packaging where we can and offer alternatives to plastic where packaging is still required to protect a product.”

Sainsbury’s has previously implemented measures that are already leading to a reduction of 8,101 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and ‘virgin plastic’ every year, in addition to its commitments to ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. 

The supermarket will also remove plastic cutlery from stores as well as plastic trays for asparagus, sweetcorn, tomatoes and carrots, plastic lids from cream pots and plastic sleeves from herb pots.

Sainsbury’s has also pledged to replace a number of items such as black plastic trays, plastic film on fruit and vegetables, PVC and polystyrene trays with recyclable alternatives, including fibre alternatives for plastic egg cartons and wooden cutlery for takeaway food.

Dark coloured plastics, which are difficult to recycle, will no longer be used for fresh foods by the end of 2019 and will be eliminated entirely by March 2020.

Black plastic trays will be replaced with recyclable alternatives by the end of the year, with black ready-meal trays replaced within the next two months.

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