Iceland calls for mandatory packaging reporting

Supermarket chain Iceland has called on the retail sector to join it in improving transparency on plastics use

It will work with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, A Plastic Planet and Surfers Against Sewage to call on the Government to use the Environment Bill to enforce mandatory reporting on plastic packaging and plastic pollution reduction targets.

Iceland said its own plastic footprint amounted to more than 32,000 tonnes in 2019.

Managing director Richard Walker said: “Our message is clear. Without transparency and Government-enforced reduction targets, we will not be able to judge whether business actions are delivering real progress.

“That is why Iceland is calling on retailers and other businesses to step up and commit to publishing their total plastic packaging transparently, including both own-label and branded products.”

He said businesses had used incomplete data on plastic packaging and progress in reducing use.

Those subject to the packaging recovery note system and due to be covered by the Government’s intended extended producer responsibility would have this data and could publish it without further effort, Walker said.

He said that since Iceland made its commitment in 2018 to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-label products by the end of 2023, it had removed 3,794 tonnes out of the 13,000 tonnes used, a 29% cut.

But including branded goods, Iceland’s total plastic packaging footprint for its UK and international operations comes to more than 32,000 tonnes and includes some 1.8 billion items of packaging and almost 93 million plastic bottles.

Walker said: “Our figures show that two-thirds of the plastic packaging we sell relates to brands rather than own-label.

“When we made our commitment to eliminate plastic from our own-label products by the end of 2023, we were aware that we would have to take further steps to lead the way in the fight against the scourge of plastic."

Paul Mayhew, president of the European plastics industry body EURIC’s plastic recycling branch, and general manager of MBA Polymers UK, gave support to the company’s move.

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