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Menu from Waitrose packaging

Waitrose to Halve Packaging by 2016

Menu from Waitrose packagingWaitrose yesterday announced a goal to cut its packaging in half by 2016 compared to 2005 along with other changes to its products that the UK supermarket chain says will save about 100 metric tons of packaging each year.

The Menu from Waitrose range of prepared meals has been relaunched with a full redesign and packaging update for all of the 49 products within the range. The width of the sleeves on the outside of the products has been decreased, resulting in a reduction of 33 metric tons of packaging per year, equivalent to a 20 percent overall weight saving, Waitrose says.

In what it says is an industry first, the retailer has also introduced aluminum trays (see photo) in which customers can cook and serve the prepared meals and recycle it after use.

The Good to Go range of 190 snacks and sandwiches has also been relaunched, with packaging reductions totaling 25 metric tons per year. Changes include increasing the size of the clear window on sandwiches to allow better visibility of the product, cutting 11 metric tons of packaging per year. The company also developed pre-printed bags for fruit portions, saving 60 percent of the weight by taking off the label.

After being introduced for diced meat in 2010, Waitrose’s “flow wrap” packaging has now been rolled out for all meat including lamb and pork. By removing the plastic tray in the packs of pork and lamb, Waitrose will cut 38 metric tons of packaging per year — a 70 percent saving, the grocer says.

Halving packaging by 2016 is one of the 12 pledges in the Waitrose Way commitments, which launched this week. The commitments span four corporate sustainability goals: treading lightly, championing British, treating people fairly and living well. The new environmental targets include:

  • Cutting the company’s carbon footprint by 2020 even though the business will double in size by owering more than 40 stores with renewable woodchips and replacing all lights with energy-efficient LEDs.
  • Ensuing all our fish sold is independently certified as sustainable by 2016.
  • Contributing more than £1 billion ($1.6 billion) to its farmers and suppliers to ensure they use sustainable farming methods.

Waitrose announced last month it will stop using pesticides linked to declining bee populations by the end of 2014. By the end of next year, farmers supplying Waitrose fruit, vegetables and flowers must phase out three neonicotinoid-based pesticides: imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

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