BPF “surprised” by Iceland’s plastics-free packaging pledge

THE British Plastics Federation (BPF) has said it is “surprised” by frozen food specialist Iceland’s announcement that it intends to eliminate plastic packaging from its own brand products within the next five years.

Iceland said it was committed to becoming the first major retailer globally to make such a move, adding that the pledge was an “important step” towards cutting down on plastic generated by supermarkets every year. The firm said it will be “harnessing the latest technologies” to create packaging comprising paper and pulp trays along with fully recyclable paper bags.

The BPF said, “Plastic packaging is used because it vastly reduces food waste and is resource efficient. If Iceland implement these measures, there is a risk that the weight of the packaging, carbon emissions, food waste and the amount of energy to make that packaging will increase.

“Growing and transporting food consumes a lot more energy than that used to make the packaging protecting it. Iceland’s proposals target products that will have absolutely no impact on reducing marine litter, which in the UK typically comes from items littered outside our homes. Its environmental footprint will increase, not decrease.”

Iceland managing director Richard Walker said, “The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival.

“The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change. Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018. This is a time for collaboration.

“There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, and so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”