Frozen food giant Iceland has vowed to become the first retailer in the world to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products.
The supermarket chain committed to carry out the pledge by the end of 2023, saying the world has “woken up to the scourge of plastics”.
“There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment,” said Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker.
The move comes just days after Theresa May called for the end of all avoidable plastic waste by 2042, announcing the possibility of a “takeaway tax” on single-use plastic items.
As part of Iceland’s five year plan to reduce the one million tonnes of plastic generated by UK supermarkets each year, the chain will introduce paper and pulp food trays in ready meals, as well as fully-recyclable paper bags.
According to the Daily Mail, the landmark move will see packaging on 1,400 product lines replaced with eco-friendly alternatives.
Walker said: “A truckload [of plastic] is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival.
“The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.”
Greenpeace UK, who described Iceland’s pledge to go plastic-free as “bold”, called on other supermarket chains to follow suit.
“The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they turn off the tap,” said executive director John Sauven.
“They know the scale of systemic change we need, and yet their responses have been timid and piecemeal.
“Iceland has offered a more radical solution that shows the way forward for the sector.”
According to polling by Iceland of 5,000 UK shoppers, 80% would support a supermarket’s decision to go plastic-free, while 91% would be more likely to encourage their friends and family to shop there as a result.