Iceland aims to be plastic free by 2023

Date : 16 January 2018

Iceland is the first grocer in the UK to commit to eliminating plastic packaging from its 1,400 private label products by 2023. MD Richard Walker calls for retailers to collaborate and drive the agenda on reducing packaging waste.

Shoppers support the recycling-friendly action

Iceland’s customer research revealed the move is strongly supported by shoppers, with 80% endorsing the move to go plastic-free, and 91% becoming more likely to encourage friends and family to shop there because of it.

Putting packaging innovation into action

Iceland’s Managing Director Richard Walker commented “There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”

Changes are already underway; Iceland has removed plastic straws from its products, and upcoming new food ranges will arrive on the shelves in paper-based trays.

Iceland and its private label suppliers will need to use a variety of innovative solutions to adhere to the retailer’s environmental commitment, whilst ensuring products can be transported and displayed without damage, and maintaining their appeal to customers.

Iceland calls for other retailers to collaborate to deliver meaningful change

The news follows a new 25 year environmental plan from the UK government, which outlines ambitions to reduce plastic waste in the UK.

However, Iceland’s Richard Walker has emphasised that responsibility to lead change is on retailers “ as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste”.

In November, Iceland and Co-op backed the idea of a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles, giving customers money back when they return empty bottles.