Sainsbury’s to recycle polypropylene film in new trial

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SAINSBURY’S has announced the launch of a new recycling system which will allow customers to recycle polypropylene film in selected stores.

Polypropylene is found in several household plastic products, including salad bags and frozen food bags. A report last year, published by Valpak and commissioned by WRAP, revealed that 266,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste in 2019 came from polypropylene plastics.

Sainsbury’s said that polypropylene film is to continue being the most popular material used to package food until an alternative is developed – primarily due to its ability to keep food fresh.

The recycling initiative will initially begin as a trial, with the supermarket hoping to roll it out in all its stores by the end of 2021 if it proves to be a success.

Claire Hughes, director of product and innovation at Sainsbury’s, said, “Sainsbury’s is dedicated to trialling and testing new initiatives as part of our ongoing commitment to make it easier for customers to recycle. We hope that by trialling flexible film recycling points in our stores and accepting more of the packaging that our customers may be unable to recycle at home, we are helping our customers reduce plastic waste. We’ll listen to feedback from our colleagues and customers before we roll out the flexible plastic packaging recycling scheme wider.

“As we work to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle plastic packaging, we’ll continue to find collaborations, working with our suppliers, academics and organisations such as WRAP to explore innovative ways to reduce and recycle more of our packaging.”

Dr David Moon, head of business Collaboration at WRAP, added, “We welcome Sainsbury’s trials of polypropylene film recycling in stores across so many locations in the North East. Developing solutions to overcome the challenge of recycling flexible plastic packaging is a priority for The UK Plastics Pact. Collection points for films at these Sainsbury’s stores is an important step in the right direction, building on their trials of polyethylene film collections.

“We need all supermarkets to collect all plastic films, adopt consistent messaging and share their insights to make this work. WRAP urges other retailers to ensure that flexible plastic packaging can be easily collected for recycling throughout the UK.”

A list of PE, LDPE and PP plastic film accepted in Sainsbury’s supermarkets include:

  • All carrier bags
  • Bread bags
  • Cereal bags
  • Bags and wrappings used for fruits, vegetables, salads and flowers
  • Bottle and can multipack wrapping
  • Biscuit and cake wrappers
  • Toilet roll & kitchen roll wrapping
  • Rice and dry food wrappers
  • Cheese wrappers
  • Frozen food bags
  • Household item wrapping
  • Clothing bags
  • Magazine and newspaper wrappers