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Sainsbury’s in ‘biggest plastic removal’ with mushroom packaging switch

Sainsbury’s is switching from plastic to cardboard punnets for all its mushrooms, which the retailer says is one of the single biggest removal of plastics it has made to date. 

Switching mushroom punnets from plastic will 'save 775 tonnes of plastic', the retailer said

The retailer says the move will help it to avoid using an estimated 52 million pieces of plastic each year, weighing 775 tonnes. The company added that this move also makes it the first UK retailer to roll out cardboard punnets for all own-brand mushrooms across its 1,400 stores.

The familiar flexible film covering mushrooms however will remain. The retailer advised that film packaging can still be recycled at one of its front-of-store flexible plastic recycling points.

‘Collective effort’

Claire Hughes, director of product and innovation, said: “As part of our Plan for Better commitments, we are trying to reduce plastic packaging across our own brand ranges. We are delighted to introduce cardboard punnets for our own-brand mushrooms.

“Making a collective effort with suppliers to increasing recycled content and recyclability for all customers has helped achieve our biggest ever plastics removal so far.

“The initiative reflects our commitment towards a healthier and more sustainable future as we continue to look at ways to innovate our packaging and reduce and replace plastic where possible.”

More to be done

Sainsbury’s has made similar moves, such as removing plastics on all toilet and kitchen roll packaging, saving 485 tonnes of plastic each year, and has saved 75 tonnes by replacing the trays for tomatoes with cardboard.

Greenpeace estimates that the major UK supermarkets together produce around 800,000 tonnes of plastic pollution every year.

Recycling rates of plastic by UK households could be as low as 12 % for some streams – according to The Big Plastic Count in 2022 – meaning much of it could end up in landfill or be incinerated.

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