3 May 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Sainsbury’s to trial pre-cycle option for plastics

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has pledged to end the use of dark coloured plastics across fresh foods in its entirety by March 2020, as part of a series of pledges to reduce plastic packaging.

The pledge comes as Sainsbury’s – which also owns Argos and the furniture outlet Habitat – said it will remove 60 tonnes of plastic packaging from Christmas crackers and introduce a ‘pre-cycle’ area, where customers can remove unwanted packaging in store and leave it for recycling. These will operate on a trial basis later in 2019.

Sainsbury’s is to introduce pre-cycle areas at stores

Sainsbury’s says the pre-cycle option will mean food remains protected through the supply chain, but offers the customer the option to recycle before they take the item home.

The announcement on Tuesday also saw the company remove plastic packaging from sweetheart and savoy cabbages, cutting a further 100 tonnes of plastic packaging over the next year, as part of a drive to “significantly reduce plastic packaging”.


This comes as part of the company’s aims to reduce a further 1,280 tonnes of plastic from products over the next 12 months, after claiming it had already removed  8,101 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and use of “virgin plastic” this year through already introduced measures.

This includes, the retailer notes, more than 6,600 tonnes of plastic packaging by replacing carrier bags with bags for life made from 100% recycled content.

The retailer says it has already removed more than 8,000 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and use of “virgin plastic” in the last year

Commenting on the pledges, chief executive of Sainsbury’s Mike Couple said: “We are serious about reducing plastic. For many years, Sainsbury’s has prioritised sustainability and sought innovative solutions to reduce plastic packaging and increase recycling. Today’s announcements show what we have already achieved and demonstrate our firm commitments for the future to make significant reductions in plastic use.”


For the first time, the company outlined specifically the tonnages of the pledges it has already made, and what it hopes to achieve for the future.

According to Sainsbury’s, it has already removed 309 tonnes from removing plastic sleeves from greeting cards, stems from cotton buds, straws, cutlery from store offices and head office and packaging from some loose fruit and veg.

It also said it has reduced 175 tonnes by reducing amount of plastic in core water bottles and lids, and 12 tonnes by reducing plastic in olive oil bottles.

Meanwhile, it also claims to have replaced 800 tonnes of clothing hangers with 100% recycled materials.


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