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What plastic-cutting measures have supermarkets recently introduced?

A number of UK supermarkets have taken steps to cut down on plastic use - but which retailers have cut what?
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Sainsbury's has announced plans to cut plastic straws from own-brand juice boxes (Photo: Google Maps)

Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's announced at the end of March that its own brand range of lunchbox juice cartons would no longer provide plastic straws as part of a plan to reduce plastic waste. Recyclable paper straws will be provided instead, cutting the plastic use by 68.9%.

Claire Hughes, director of product and innovation at Sainsbury's said: "As we work to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle plastic packaging, we’re committed to trialling and testing innovative new packaging alternatives for our products. Removing 18.5 million straws from circulation each year is a huge achievement and brings us closer to our goal."

Aldi

Aldi announced a similar policy days later, with all own-label drinks cartons now coming with a fully recyclable cardboard straw.

Richard Gorman, plastics and packaging director at Aldi UK, said: "Removing plastic straws from own-brand drinks cartons is another step in our journey to reducing plastic packaging across our products.

"Our customers want environmentally-friendly products, and plastic straws are one thing, in particular, that people want to move away from to help make a difference."

Tesco in PeterboroughTesco deliveries are going bagless from mid-April. Photo: Google Maps

Tesco

Meanwhile, Tesco online deliveries will be made without tray liners or non-essential plastic bags from April 19.

An email sent to shoppers read: "As a response to Covid-19 and to ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues, we reintroduced carrier bags for all online orders. However, we know how concerned many of you are about plastic – and we're aware we have an important role to play in reducing plastic consumption.

"This means there'll no longer be an option at the checkout to have your shopping packed in plastic bags or tray liners. Your groceries will instead be placed directly into our trays. For health and safety reasons, we'll continue to use red plastic bags for meat, fish and some household cleaning products. You can also be assured that we'll continue to work hard to keep trays and other delivery equipment hygienic."

Drivers will still bring shopping inside for those who are vulnerable, disabled or elderly, but Tesco recommends most customers receiving their online order have their own bags ready to pack into.

This will also be rolled out for click and collect customers.

Morrisons

Bagless deliveries have also been brought back at Morrisons. The plastic-cutting measures were introduced in 2020, but were paused due to safety fears and the need to prioritise speedy deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for Morrisons confirmed that deliveries and click and collect services would not be providing plastic bags from April 1.

As at Tesco, bags will be used when health and safety requires, such as for household cleaning items, meat and fish.

asdaAsda will be cutting all single-use plastic bags from the fruit and veg aisles (Photo: Google Maps)

Asda

Asda is removing all single-use plastic fruit and veg bags from its stores across the UK, offering a 30p reusable alternative instead, after a successful trial at nine stores.

Later this year, the retailer will also be removing plastic punnets from conference pear packaging - saving 170 tonnes of plastic each year.

Dominic Edwards, director of produce for Asda, said: "We know that our customers and colleagues are really passionate about doing the right thing for the environment and this move is just another way we are helping them make sustainable choices, without compromising on the quality of our produce.

"Following some really positive feedback on our trial, we're excited to roll out the removal of the plastic bags across all our stores, as we continue to work towards our plastic reduction targets as a business."

Waitrose

At the end of March, Waitrose pledged to stop selling children's magazines with plastic toy gifts as part of its efforts to reduce single use plastic.

Marija Rompani, partner and director of ethics and sustainability, said: "While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive.

"Many in the younger generation really care about the planet and are the ones inheriting the problem of plastic pollution. We urge publishers to find alternatives, and other retailers to follow our lead in ending the pointless plastic that comes with children's magazines."

A report has also recently been published by the supermarket's Plan Plastic challenge, which saw £1million in money raised by the sale of plastic carrier bags donated to projects tackling plastic pollution.