Waitrose cuts black plastic from product packaging

The reduction amounts to around 1,300 tonnes of black plastic packaging per year, and it comes as the retailer seeks to remove all forms of black plastic from its product line by the end of 2019.

Waitrose has removed black plastic from its packaging for fresh produce

The move is intended to help the retailer move towards its goal of making its packaging “more recyclable” across its product line.

Currently, black plastic packaging is colored using carbon black pigments which do not allow the packaging to be sorted by existing optical sorting systems widely used in plastics recycling facilities because the black pigment does not reflect much. or no light.

Despite some developments in the technology used to sort the material, as well as trials to demonstrate the viability of a “detectable” additive in plastic – WRAP tips suggests that local authorities should avoid collecting the material unless requested by their reprocessor.


According to WRAP, around 18,495 tonnes of black plastic was collected via curbside recycling systems from households in the UK in 2015/16, or around 3.7% of the total plastic packaging collected during this period. .

Materials including cardboard and plastic packaging in different colors are being used as alternatives by Waitrose – which has set itself the goal of making 100% of its product packaging from materials considered to be ‘largely recyclable’. by 2023.

Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health and Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “Disposing of black plastic is a priority for us. While removing it, we also took the opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic of any color by removing platters of fruits and vegetables like apples, broccoli, and pak choi.

“We are constantly moving forward and are determined to keep our momentum going, which is why we are now looking at ready meals and other products to achieve our goal of removing all black plastic from our own brand products by the end. of 2019. “

Reusable containers

The retailer is also looking to encourage customers to bring in reusable containers to take products out from fresh service counters in an effort to reduce the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

Waitrose encourages customers to bring reusable containers for produce from fresh produce counters

Signage was installed in all 349 retailers’ stores in England, Scotland and Wales to publicize the initiative.

Mr Harris added: “Our long term goal is to completely remove the bags from our counters or find a suitable alternative for meat and fish in the same way we did with the bags of fruits and vegetables. compostable, which will be introduced this year.

“We have not yet found this option and know that we cannot do away with them overnight as there are food safety considerations when handling raw meat and fish and purchasing food at the store. counter is now part of the regular store for many customers. “

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