Sainsbury’s rolls out largest ever recycling initiative – 520 supermarkets taking part

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Sainsbury’s is following in the footsteps of various different supermarkets in offering a recycling system for its customers. The mass roll out will drastically help to reduce the amount of plastic waste pollution.

According to the grocer, just 17 percent of UK local authorities collect flexible plastics for recycling.

Under the new scheme, common household items can be recycled including crisp packets, food pouches, salad bags, biscuit and cake wrappers.

Following a successful trial in the North East of England, Sainsbury’s has rolled out an innovative new recycling system to a total of 520 supermarkets.

It allows customers to recycle all flexible plastic packaging which is not commonly accepted for kerbside collection by local authorities.

The front of store recycling points will make it easier than ever for customers to make more sustainable choices by offering a system where they can correctly dispose of the packaging.

The expanded initiative has the potential to decrease the amount of plastic packaging going to landfill.

It comes after a WRAP report estimated that flexible film contributed towards 290,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2019.

Claire Hughes, Director of Product and Innovation at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re really excited to announce the mass rollout of the Flexible Plastics Recycling scheme in over 520 of our stores, helping our customers to recycle more of their plastic packaging, instead of it ending up as waste. 

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“Making recycling easier for our customers is a key part of our strategy to minimise the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, alongside our own ambitious target of reducing the use of plastics in our own operations by 50 percent by 2025.”

Sainsbury’s has made a commitment to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025, as well as removing the use of single plastic bags from loose produce.

What’s more, the supermarket has also reduced the amount of plastic in its Taste the Difference and SO Organic lamb and steak packaging.

More recently, the retailer announced it would switch to plant-based packaging for its teabags.

Currently, an oil-based plastic is used to seal each individual teabag.

The new packaging will be used on all teabags from Sainsbury’s own label range, apart from the So Organic Black Tea brand.

The move will affect 859 million teabags a year and help the supermarket to reach its goals by 2025.

Claire Hughes said: “This extensive rollout of our new teabags is another example of how we are looking to implement new innovative products that will reduce the impact our business has on the environment.

“Our move towards plant-based teabags has required significant time and multiple trials to ensure that our customers receive the same great quality teabags and we look forward to the rollout in stores this year.”

It comes days after discount supermarket Aldi also announced it would be making the same move to plant-based teabags.

It is just one step Aldi is taking to halve the volume of its plastic packaging it uses by 2025.

Richard Gorman, Plastics and Packaging Director at Aldi UK, said: “By the end of this year, all of our own-brand tea bags will be biodegradable and contain no plastic whatsoever.

“The changes we’ve made to our tea range will help us reduce our environmental impact and offer our customers even more environmentally-sustainable options when they shop at Aldi.”

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