Iceland supermarket commits to go plastic free in five years

Publication date: 16th January 2018

Greenpeace welcomes move and calls on other supermarkets to follow Iceland’s lead

London. Greenpeace today welcomed a commitment by Iceland, the UK’s leading frozen food retailer, to become the first UK supermarket to eliminate plastic packaging in all of its own brand products. Iceland has pledged to complete the process within the next five years, removing plastic completely.


John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said –

“Last month a long list of former heads of Britain’s biggest retail groups wrote a joint statement to explain that the only solution to plastic pollution was for retailers to reject plastic entirely in favour of more sustainable alternatives like recycled paper, steel, glass and aluminium.

Iceland has taken up that challenge with its bold pledge to go plastic free within five years. It’s now up to other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge. The tidal wave of plastic pollution will only start to recede when they turn off the tap. 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.”

Iceland’s pledge will be an important step towards cutting down on the plastic generated by supermarkets in the UK each year. In its place, Iceland will be harnessing the latest technologies to create a range of packaging including paper and pulp trays along with paper bags which are fully recyclable through domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities, and therefore less harmful to the environment.

Iceland has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range.


Iceland Managing Director Richard Walker said –

“The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload 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.  Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018. This is a time for collaboration.

“There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”

Louise Edge, Senior Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace UK said –

Iceland have recognised the urgency of the plastics crisis, and are working towards a comprehensive solution in five years, rather than the government’s suggested twenty-five.

“We urge other supermarkets to follow suit and make firm commitments to move away from using disposable plastic packaging, and start by going plastic free in their own brands.

ENDS

Contact

Greenpeace UK Press Office – +44 (0) 20 7865 8255 or press.uk@greenpeace.org

Graham Thompson – 07801 212 960

Notes

A new Greenpeace petition calling on supermarkets to remove single use plastic from their stores will be launched tomorrow (17/01/18).

Greenpeace are urging supermarkets to commit to progressively reduce and ultimately eliminate single use plastic packaging and to develop an action plan that should include commitments to:

  • Eliminate single use plastic from their own-brand products
  • Push their big brand suppliers to eliminate non-recyclable plastic packaging and to commit to move away from using single use plastic packaging
  • Invest in research and development into ways to dramatically reduce overall packaging use and develop less problematic packaging materials and new delivery systems.
  • Trial reusable packaging such as refillable containers for own brand items like shampoos and house cleaning products
  • Install free water fountains in-store
  • Support deposit return schemes for containers
  • Increase transparency about their plastic use including public reporting on their levels of plastic use, reuse, recycling, and progress in meeting reduction targets.