Iceland’s plastic-free plan on the ropes

Iceland’s bid to be plastic-free by the end of the year is likely to be derailed due to the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

The frozen food retailer’s supply chain is in ‘survival mode’, halting the progress of removing all plastic from the brand’s own packaging.

“You walk into an Iceland store and it’s still a sea of plastic,” Iceland managing director Richard Walker said to The Times.

Despite the setback, Walker has credited Iceland’s initiatives for influencing a wider agenda, claiming its rivals have followed suit and were focused on reducing plastic.

READ MORE: Tesco, Morrisons and Iceland ration cooking oil after supplies hit by Ukraine war

Iceland changed the packaging of 100 million ready meals it sells a year from single-use, non-recyclable black trays to a wood pulp alternative. The move has saved 850 tonnes of plastic waste so far.

Walker said: “We fired the starting gun on this. When all competitors were focused on recycling, we had an alternative view that you could never recycle your way out of the plastic crisis and I think that’s been vindicated.”

“There’s been a change of mindset in the last few years; people were even arguing you needed more plastic but just ‘better’ less harmful versions, but the reality is that only 9% of plastic is recycled.”

The news comes as Morrisons and Sainsbury’s both revealed plans to halve their plastic use by 2025 and Lidl by 40%.

Some 90% of shoppers said they prioritise plastic-free or recyclable packaging when choosing products over several other factors, including carbon footprint and nutritional value, according to a study by Impact Score, the sustainability data specialists.

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