The Plastic Free Trust Mark has been launched to support retailers which have made pledges to phase out plastic packaging.

Tea brand Teapigs and Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza have additionally pledged to implement the label, which comes from campaign group A Plastic Planet and enables customers to see at a glance whether products use plastic in their packaging.

 A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland said the label would support business’ sustainability goals while making shopping easier for consumers who “want to do the right thing and buy plastic-free”.

“Our Trust Mark cuts through the confusion of symbols and labels and tells you just one thing – this packaging is plastic-free and therefore guilt-free,” she said. “Finally, shoppers can be part of the solution and not the problem.”

Plastic-free future

Iceland, which has committed to become the world’s first major retailer to remove plastic packaging from its own brand products by 2023, will start putting the label on relevant products within its own-brand ranges from next month, with the supermarket’s eggs, cottage pie and vegetable burgers set to be among the first products to carry the mark. The supermarket said the initial roll out of the label would help cut plastic waste by over 600 tonnes a year.

Meanwhile Ekoplaza, which made headlines when it modified one of its Amsterdam stores to incorporate a plastic-free aisle in March, is planning to deploy the trust mark on all eligible products across its 74 stores in the Netherlands by the end of the year.

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker welcomed the launch of the new label as a way to help his company “realise a plastic-free future for food and drink retail”. 

“With the grocery retail sector accounting for more than 40% of plastic packaging in the UK, it’s high time that Britain’s supermarkets came together to take a lead on this issue,” he added.

Call to action

As the war on plastic waste reaches fever pitch, the latest research suggests the general public are fully on board with the need to tackle on plastic packaging waste. One survey of 5,000 consumers finding that 80% would endorse a supermarket’s move to go plastic-free, while 91% would be more likely to encourage friends and family to shop there as a result of such a pledge.

Iceland own label & packaging manager, Ian Schofield, recently claimed that customer demand for big-name brands to phase out single-use plastics means the supermarket industry must be “fearless” in pursuing “ambitious” plastic goals in the wake of the January release of the Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan – which pledged to eliminate all “avoidable” plastics waste by 2042.

Other supermarkets to made plastic reduction pledges recently include WaitroseMorrisons, Tesco and Asda, while Co-op has put in place a long-term ambition for 100% of its product packaging to be recyclable, with an immediate target of 80% by 2020 already in place. 

M&S has additionally pledged to make all own-brand packaging “widely recyclable” by 2022 as part of its renowned Plan A programme, and is planning to develop one recyclable, plastic polymer for use across all its plastic packaging.

Sarah George

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