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Iceland Announces Major Milestone On 2018 Plastic Elimination Pledge

by Rudy Sanchez on 03/12/2020 | 2 Minute Read

In today’s hyperconnected world, remembering promises and pledges from companies can be difficult, making it easier for firms to quietly fall short of their commitments several news cycles and years later. 

UK supermarket chain Iceland, however, isn’t slacking on its 2018 pledge to remove all plastic packaging from its branded products by 2023, announcing that it has successfully eliminated 29% of plastic packaging so far, about 3,794 tons worth, the equivalent mass of 36 blue whales.

Editorial photograph

“The scale of the challenge we have taken on is huge, partly because of the lack of alternative solutions in some instances, the infrastructure in the manufacturing industry which in many cases [are] built around plastic usage, and of course, the fact that we are the only retailer to have made a ‘totality’ commitment,” said Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland, in a press release.

Iceland has achieved this milestone by engaging with over 100 suppliers, finding ways in-store to reduce plastic waste, supporting research and development of alternatives, as well as encouraging its customers to reduce their own plastic usage. Such initiatives have reduced plastic in produce lines by 93%. Iceland was also the first UK supermarket to become a plastic bag-free store and to install reverse vending machines, which have collected over 1.2 million plastic bottles and dispensed over £120,000 in 10p vouchers.

“Whilst we have seen a promising shift away from plastic usage across the industry and a significant increase in consumer awareness of the issue since the beginning of 2018, we remain the only retailer to have made this pledge," Walker said. "We’re now looking ahead to the next phase of our journey, whilst continuing to engage our customers by finding scalable and user-friendly solutions, truly democratizing choice to make sustainable packaging options an affordable reality for everyone."

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