Sainsbury’s slashes single-use plastic trays in sustainability drive

UK – British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has removed single-use plastic trays from its ‘by Sainsbury’s’ whole chicken range in a bid to cut the plastic used in its packaging.

The move to trayless chicken packaging uses 50% less plastic, minimum, than the previous packaging and is estimated to save 140 tonnes of plastic per year.

Sainsbury’s says that the film packaging on the products can still be recycled via Sainsbury’s front-of-store flexible plastic recycling points available in all Sainsbury’s stores across the UK.

The change will be applied to five of Sainsbury’s products and is the latest move by the UK retailer to halve its own brand packaging by 50% by 2025.

Keeping sustainability in mind, Sainsbury’s says it has also made improvements to its chicken welfare standards across its supply chains.

The retailer has moved all its brand chicken products to a lower stocking density, giving its chickens 20% more space than the Red Tractor industry standard.

In 2019, Sainsbury’s pledged to halve plastic packaging by 2025 by introducing refillable cartons and bottles for everything from milk to breakfast cereals, pasta and laundry liquid. 

Speaking at the time, Chief Executive Mike Coupe said: “Reducing plastic and packaging is not easy. Packaging plays a vital role in keeping our food safe and fresh and minimizing food waste.

“We must therefore find alternatives to plastic that protect the quality of our food while minimizing our impact on the environment.”

Since then, Sainsbury’s has taken several measures to slash its plastic use. This includes removing the plastic lids from its dip pots, replacing the plastic used in its own brand two-liter ice cream tubs and removing the plastic film from its broccoli. 

Last month, the supermarket chain introduced sustainable packaging for its own-brand liquid laundry detergent.

Sainsbury’s new packaging, which is 35% lighter and can be recycled at kerbside or at recycling banks, will take 13 lorries off the road each year and reduce carbon emissions of this range by 50%.

In addition, the laundry liquid has also been reformulated and is now super concentrated, with a smaller amount of detergent required per wash, allowing five additional washes per carton.

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