// M&S launches trial of fruit and veg range that is free from plastic packaging
// New range uses compostable punnets
// M&S said this would be a “springboard” to a wider plastic reduction strategy
Marks & Spencer has upped the ante on its war on plastic by launching 90 lines of loose fruit and vegetables completely free of plastic packaging.
Currently in a trial phase at its Tolworth store, M&S has unveiled two aisles of fruit and vegetables that are retailed in compostable punnets.
The range, which do not have “best before” date labels, includes hard fruit and veg like potatoes and bananas, as well as more perishable items such as soft fruits and berries.
M&S also hired trained greengrocers to be on hand to offer help customers pick and weigh products, as well as provide tips on how best to preserve fresh produce and prevent food waste at home.
The retailer said the three-month trial at Tolworth would be the springboard its long-term plastic reduction strategy, which includes a target of becoming a zero-waste business by 2025.
M&S added that it was committed to launching additional lines of loose produce and more sustainable alternatives to plastic in every UK store, which could save 580 tonnes of plastic waste over two years alone.
The plan would involve replacing plastic produce bags with paper ones and phasing out plastic barcode stickers in favour of eco-friendly alternatives.
“We know our customers want to play their part in cutting out plastic, while as a business our goal is to become zero-waste by 2025,” M&S head of food sustainability Louise Nicholls said.
“That’s why we’re working hard to reduce the amount of plastic packaging we use without compromising on food quality and contributing to waste.
“Our trial at Tolworth is an important milestone in our plastic reduction journey and bringing back the traditional greengrocer will play a key part in educating our customers.
“Our plan is to create long-term impact in the future using tangible insights from the Tolworth store trial.”
M&S said it has already phased out 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in its stores each year and replaced two million straws with paper alternatives as part of its plastics plan, which aims to remove 1000 tonnes of plastic packaging by spring this year.
It added that all of its packaging will be “widely recycled” by 2022 in a bid to help customers to recycle more.