Iceland to freeze out plastic from its packaging

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 16 January 2018

The Marine Conservation Society is delighted that the supermarket chain Iceland has committed to removing, or drastically reducing, plastic packaging from its own-label products by the end of 2023, announced today.

Iceland_M
© Iceland

There really is no excuse any more for unnecessary plastic packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment, and we need to see other retailers follow suit

Dr Sue Kinsey,
MCS Senior Pollution Policy Officer

Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Senior Pollution Policy Officer says “This is wonderful news, it is clear that support for the initiative comes from the highest level within the company. We are hopeful that its business structure, as a privately owned company not beholden to large numbers of shareholders, will enable Iceland to deliver on its intentions and we will be watching with interest as to how this initiative progresses.

“Plastics are a major part of marine pollution and all steps to eliminate the use of plastic are welcome. There really is no excuse any more for unnecessary plastic packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment, and we need to see other retailers follow suit.”

Iceland say that it will use new technologies to reach its goal, using recyclable packaging made from paper and pulp to replace plastics used in trays and wrappings, and will take steps to make sure that its materials are recycled after use.

Iceland was aware of the Marine Conservation Society’s campaigns calling for action on plastic, which, along with the high level of public interest in the shocking levels of plastic contaminating the world’s oceans, influenced their decision. Iceland was the first supermarket in the UK to declare its support for a deposit refund system on drinks containers in 2017, and is now taking steps other supermarkets and retailers must follow if we are to stop the tide of plastic polluting our oceans.

MCS says the interest in the state of our oceans and the desire to reduce plastic pollution has never been higher, and expressed its disappointment recently on the lack of ambition in the Prime Minister’s “25 Year Plan” for the environment. This commitment from a major retailer is a great step forward, showing that rapid action can be taken to reduce the blight of unnecessary plastics.

MCS is currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items and demanding that big fast food chains stop giving out millions of plastic cups, stirrers, straws and cutlery but instead replace them with reusable or fully compostable alternatives.

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