British supermarket Iceland believes it will be the first of its kind to make all of its own-brand products plastic-free.
Iceland expects the process to take 5 years and has been working with charities, experts and suppliers to make changes to current product packaging.
“We’ve created a monster,” managing director Richard Walker told Sky News.
“Plastic does not degrade, it lasts for half a millennium. Every minute there’s a truckload of plastic waste entering the ocean.
“It’s ubiquitous, it’s in everything, it’s in up to 50% of what the average supermarket sells. The time to act is now.
“Take our ready meals. They are in a board carton sleeve which is good, made of paper, but the problem is the black plastic tray.
“We’re going to replace that with a wooden board tray, and the final piece of the jigsaw is the plastic film over the top: we’re looking at cellulose-based technologies which are made from paper pulp.”
“It’s a really surprising announcement”, Barry Turner from the British Plastics Federation said. “The reason a lot of supermarkets embraced plastics packaging is because it’s resource efficient.
He claimed: “If they move away from plastics in the way that they’ve declared, it will mean that the weight of the packaging they use will increase four times, the carbon emissions will increase by around three times, the amount of energy to make that packaging will increase two-fold.
“So, the net result is that the environmental footprint of the packaging that they’re including, will increase.”
“By doing this we’re showing it can be done, it is possible,” added Walker.
“I’m genuinely calling on all supermarkets to join us in this fight. It’s a time for collaboration. We want everyone to come up with similar pledges and share technologies to make it a reality.”
Currently, we pollute the oceans with 8 million tonnes of plastic every year, making it one of the most dangerous and threatening environmental problems currently experienced.
Rival supermarket Tesco has increased their efforts to reduce plastic bag use while Prime Minister Theresa May has attempted to reduce plastic use in her 25-year plan for the environment.