UK supermarket Iceland targets plastic-free own label ranges by 2023

LONDON (Reuters) - British supermarket Iceland plans to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own brand products by the end of 2023 and called on the industry to follow its lead.

Privately-owned Iceland, which trades from 900 UK stores specializing in frozen food, said on Tuesday that instead of using plastic it will use packaging comprising paper and pulp trays along with paper bags which are fully recyclable and therefore less harmful to the environment.

Its pledge on plastic is a first from a major British grocer.

The UK government is considering several initiatives to reduce the use of environmentally damaging single-use plastics, including packaging and bubble wrap, polystyrene takeaway boxes and throwaway coffee cups. Last year it launched a consultation on taxing and charging for their use.

In 2015 the government introduced a charge for plastic bags which has led to an 80 percent reduction in UK plastic bag use since 2015.

Iceland said the continuing use of plastic packaging does not resonate with British public opinion.

“Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018,” said Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton