Sainsbury’s has begun recycling rescued plastic from beaches and coastlines for its strawberry and fresh fish range packaging.
The move, with Prevented Ocean Plastic, could save nearly 12 million plastic bottles from entering the ocean each year, it said.
Its fresh fish range will contain 34% of the recycled plastic in its packaging, while its strawberry punnets will have 80% recycled content.
This will see more than 39.5 million items bought from Sainsbury’s swapped to the sustainable packaging this year alone.
With the support of Prevented Ocean Plastic, Sainsbury’s will contribute to the creation of almost 6,531 days of employment for plastic bottle collectors, while supporting coastal communities around the world that are at risk of ocean plastic pollution.
It marks the latest step by the retailer to remove, reduce, recycle and reuse plastic since pledging in 2019 to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025.
“Using Prevented Ocean Plastic is one change we’re making to our supply chain to help us remove, reduce, recycle and reuse plastic,” said Sainsbury’s director of product, packaging & innovation Claire Hughes.
“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.”
Sharpak UK division director Patrick Gautier 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.”
The retailer had so far removed thousands of tonnes of plastic across the business, it said. 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).
It has also got rid of and replaced black plastic, PVC and polystyrene from own-brand packaging (6,400 tonnes).
Earlier this year, the retailer also 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 plastic film – such as bread bags, frozen food bags, biscuits and cake wrappers.
Along with this, Sainsbury’s announced a mass rollout of its first plant-based own-brand teabags.