Iceland pledges to go 'plastic-free' on own brand packaging by 2023

Iceland has become the first major retailer to commit to eliminate plastic packaging for all own brand products within five years to help end the "scourge" of plastic pollution.

The retailer said it would be replacing plastic with packaging including paper and pulp trays and paper bags which would be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities.

Iceland said it was the first major retailer globally to go "plastic-free" on its own label products and aimed to complete the move by the end of 2023.

It has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range and new food ranges set to hit the shelves in early 2018 will use paper-based rather than plastic food trays.

The move, which has been welcomed by environmental campaigners, comes amid growing concern over plastic pollution in the world's oceans, where it can harm and kill wildlife such as turtles and seabirds.

Iceland managing director, Richard Walker.

A survey for Iceland revealed overwhelming public support for a shift away from plastic by retailers, with 80% of 5,000 people polled saying they would endorse a supermarket's move to go plastic-free.

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."

He also said Iceland would ensure all packaging was fully recyclable and would be recycled, through support for initiatives such as a bottle deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

As it was technologically and practically possible to create less environmentally harmful alternatives, "there really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment", he added.

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