Waitrose is ending the use of multibuy shrinkwrap on millions of its own-label tinned grocery products in a move aimed at stamping out single-use plastic.
The plastic wrap, which is used to keep three or four cans attached for convenience but can’t always be recycled, will now be removed permanently on all the retailer's tinned food. Waitrose was the first UK retailer to trial the removal of shrinkwrap on tinned multibuys last year.
Waitrose said removing the shrinkwrap on some of its best-selling everyday essentials - including baked beans, kidney beans, sweetcorn, chopped and plum tomatoes and tuna - means a significant reduction in single-use plastic, saving over 45 tonnes a year.
The pandemic has prompted record sales of tinned food, it noted, as a shift in shopping behaviour led customers to doing larger shops and stocking up on store cupboard staples and multibuys. Sales of tinned food remain strong with many products currently up by 50 per cent compared to last year.
The plastic has already been removed from cans of Essential Waitrose kidney beans and sweetcorn, with others following in the next few months.The vast majority of multibuy cans will now be available loose, with the exception of tuna and tomatoes, which will move to a card sleeve that can be recycled. Last year’s trial highlighted that customers still prefer the convenience of buying certain canned foods together.
Canned food buyer Claire Mitchell said: “Our Essential Waitrose tinned food has been selling in record numbers since March and we want to ensure that we can continue to give customers the best quality and value, without passing on the plastic on such popular products.
"Our customers expect us to keep tackling plastic, which includes eliminating single-use shinkwrap on our multibuys. This is a significant step towards our plan to phase out non-recyclable plastic from all our packaging by 2021."