Waitrose has pledged to remove non-recyclable black plastic packaging from own-label fresh produce by the end of this year.
Black plastic cannot be recycled as lasers used by waste processors cannot sense the colour effectively, meaning they are not identified for recycling, the retailer said.
Despite this, it is frequently used by retailers on products such as ready meals and puddings, as well as produce.
‘‘Not many people realise that black plastic is tough to recycle,” said Waitrose’s head of sustainability and responsible sourcing, Tor Harris. “As a retailer dedicated to reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the environment, becoming black plastic free across all our own label products is the right thing to do.’’
Waitrose, which has already removed 65 per cent of black plastic from its fruit and vegetable packaging, said it will stop using the material on all products by 2019.
Wrap director Peter Maddox said: “Plastic packaging has a vital job to preserve and protect products, particularly food. However, we all have a role to play to reduce problematic plastic packaging that cannot currently be recycled.
“Waitrose’s commitment is a positive step and supports the aims of our new plastics initiative, which will see the entire plastics supply chain working holistically to create a system where plastic is valued and never becomes waste.”
Harris added: “Tackling the use of plastics across our business is a key priority for us and we have committed that all our packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025.
“Our work to eliminate black plastic packaging from our shops sees us taking a step towards accomplishing this.”