Waitrose to save four million plastic bottles with use of ocean-bound plastic

The new initiative is part of the UN’s World Ocean Day

Ellie Abraham
Tuesday 08 June 2021 16:11
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Supermarket chain Waitrose says it will save four million plastic bottles from ending up in the ocean with its new packaging.

The retailer has pledged to use more sustainable packaging called Prevented Ocean Plastic (POP) for its own-brand products in an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

POP is recycled plastic collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution.

The supermarket will use 100 tonnes of it, the equivalent of four million bottles that would have ended up in the sea.

The supermarket said it is the first in the UK to use POP in packaging a ready-meal range, as it has 13 different lines due to launch later this year.

The material is now also being used more widely in the packaging of Waitrose’s own-brand vegetables, fruit and family and health products.

The new initiative is part of the UN’s World Ocean Day (8 June) - an annual day that aims to celebrate the importance of the ocean and to understand how we can better protect it.

Waitrose says it is working towards reducing its plastic waste by using a minimum of 30 per cent recycled content in its plastics.

Currently, the plastic trays in the supermarket’s own label fruit are made of a minimum of 80 per cent recycled content.

John Lewis Partnership ethics and sustainability director, Marija Rompani said: “It’s estimated that 90 per cent of the plastic in our oceans comes from just 10 rivers around the world, with coastal regions in Southeast Asia identified as being at particular risk.

“Our customers have told us they want to see more packaging made from recycled content on our shelves and with vast amounts of plastic already in the world, we are committed to repurposing where we can and using more sustainable options.

“There is more to do but we hope that by using more Prevented Ocean Plastics in our packaging, we can be part of the solution to this hugely significant global issue.”

The initiative comes after a successful launch of new sustainable packaging for strawberries. The “Air-Light” punnet has seen the bubble wrap and adhesive removed, saving an estimated 16.89 tonnes of plastic over the summer.

Ben Tingley, product and business development lead or the Prevented Ocean Plastic Research Centre, said: “World Ocean Day is a moment for our industry and community to come together to progress fully traceable ocean plastic prevention and bring recycled plastic into products on shelves.

“We can already see the significant impact this is having not only on our oceans but also to the communities that live in coastal areas most affected by plastic pollution.

“We therefore hope other businesses will follow in the footsteps of retailers like Waitrose and commit to using more Prevented Ocean Plastic in their packaging to give customers a better plastic choice when making day to day shopping decisions.”

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