UK-based Waitrose partners with Huhtamaki to trial fiber based recyclable tray for two months

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UK-based Waitrose partners with Huhtamaki to trial fiber based recyclable tray for two months

October 15, 2018 - 11:04

BRACKNELL, UK , Oct. 11, 2018 (Press Release) -From this week, Waitrose & Partners is trialling three of its Italian ready meals in a widely recyclable tray for two months.

This trial is larger than the retailer’s initial one in June as it is in the majority of its shops and more ready meals is in the alternative to black plastic tray.

The supermarket’s investment in a material to replace the black plastic tray, which the ready meals are usually in, has seen it create a fibre based tray which feels like cardboard. The cream coloured container is Forest Stewardship Council certified and is labelled as widely recycled. It says on the packaging to rinse the tray and put it in with paper recycling. Waitrose & Partners’ Macaroni Cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese and Tuna Pasta Bake meals are in the packaging.

Currently, much of the black plastic packaging used by supermarkets for food such as ready meals and puddings is not recycled as lasers used by waste processors cannot recognise the colour effectively. This means it is not identified for recycling.

This is the next step in the retailer’s commitment to not sell any own label product in black plastic packaging beyond 2019.

Waitrose & Partners has worked with its packaging supplier, Huhtamaki, to use the latest technology to make sure the trays can be heated in the oven and microwave.

All the retailer’s own label packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025.

Karen Graley, Packaging Manager at Waitrose, says:

“Black plastic continues to be a challenge to recycle. This is why we see innovating in alternative materials as so important. If our trial is a success we’ll be looking to roll it out further and this could potentially save millions of plastic trays going to landfill every year.

“Customer feedback from the June trial has been really positive with shoppers asking where the fibre based trays went after the trial ended.

“Ready meals have historically used a great deal of black plastic - but hopefully this will be the beginning of the end for this hard to recycle form of packaging.’’

Waitrose & Partners is taking action on plastic and has made the following commitments:

  • All its own-label packaging will be widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable by 2025
  • The retailer has pledged not to sell any own label products in black plastic packaging beyond 2019. All own-label meat, fish, fruit and veg will be out of black plastic by the end of 2018
  • Waitrose & Partners has reduced packaging by nearly 50 per cent since 2009
  • It has committed to removing all myWaitrose disposable cups from shops by autumn 2018, saving 52 million cups a year
  • The supermarket will remove 5p plastic bags by March 2019 and will replace plastic bags with home compostable versions for loose fruit and veg by spring 2019. The move will save 134 million plastic bags, the equivalent of 500 tonnes of plastic a year
  • The retailer was the first supermarket to permanently stop selling products containing microbeads from September 2018
  • It also switched plastic stem cotton buds to exclusively paper stem
  • Waitrose & Partners Duchy tomatoes are in punnets made from tomato leaves and recycled paper which replaced the plastic they were normally in

About Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners has 348 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. Waitrose & Partners is an employee-owned business - all employees are Partners and have a say in how the business is run.

Waitrose & Partners exports products to more than 50 countries worldwide and has nine shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. The retailer's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service.

About Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki is a global specialist in packaging for food and drink. With a  network of 78 manufacturing units and additional 24 sales only offices in altogether 34 countries, the company is  well placed to support customers' growth wherever they operate. Mastering three distinctive packaging technologies, approximately 17,000 employees develop and make packaging that helps great products reach more people, more easily. In 2017 the  net sales totaled EUR 3.0 billion. The Group has its head office in Espoo, Finland and the parent company Huhtamäki Oyj is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.