Iceland to miss plastic-free target

Iceland will miss target to stamp out plastic packaging
Iceland will miss target to stamp out plastic packaging
// Iceland is set to miss its target of removing all plastic from its own-brand products this year due to the pandemic and war in Ukraine
// Iceland boss set the target in 2018 but admits there’s still “a sea of plastic” in its stores

Iceland looks likely to miss its target of being plastic-free by the end of this year as the pandemic and war in Ukraine have delayed its progress.

Iceland UK managing director Richard Walker, who in 2018 set the target to banish own-brand plastic, admitted to The Times: “You walk into an Iceland store and it’s still a sea of plastic.”

He said Iceland’s supply chain was in “survival mode” right now to overcome disruption and keep stock on the shelves.

Earlier this year Iceland had to revert back to using palm oil, which it also vowed to remove from its products in 2018, because the Ukraine war has sent the price of the alternative sunflower oil rocketing.

At the time, Walker admitted in a blog that he had made the U-turn with “huge regret”.

READ MORE: Iceland launches 1p sale on veg to help with cost-of-living crisis

In terms of plastics, Walker claimed that Iceland had influenced the wider agenda and claimed rival supermarkets had followed its lead in pledging to reduce plastic.

“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,” Walker said.

Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have both vowed to halve their plastic usage by 2025 while Tesco said it removed 500 million pieces of unnecessary plastic over the past year.

One of the biggest changes Iceland had made since it set the target ws replace the non-recyclable black ready meal trays to a wood pulp alternative. The initiative has saved 850 tonnes of plastic waste.

Iceland is also piloting paper-based alternatives to the plastic packaging used for frozen vegetables.

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