Waitrose, two potatoes on a plastic tray in a plastic bag!

it's bad enough having the potatoes in a plastic bag, but two potatoes on a plastic tray in a plastic bag! Who is doing your buying? Have your heard that it is ending up in our oceans. We want plastic free vegetables. #plasticfree #noplastic #plasticpollution

But it is not all doom and gloom. Supermarket chain Waitrose has removed black plastic packaging from its own-brand fresh food range including fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetable packaging.

The reduction amounts to around 1,300 tonnes of black plastic packaging per year, and it comes as the retailer seeks to remove all forms of black plastic from its product range by the end of 2019.

Waitrose has removed black plastic from its fresh produce packaging

The move is intended to help the retailer move towards its goal of making its packaging ‘more recyclable’ across its product range.

At present black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments which do not enable the pack to be sorted by the existing optical sorting systems used widely in plastics recycling facilities as the black pigment reflects little or no light.

Despite some developments in the technology used to sort the material, as well as trials to demonstrate the viability of a ‘detectable’ additive in the plastic – guidance from WRAP suggests that local authorities should avoid collecting the material, unless it is requested by their reprocessor.


According to WRAP, around 18,495 tonnes of black plastic was collected through kerbside recycling systems from households in the UK in 2015/16 – around 3.7% of the total plastic packaging collected during that time.

Materials including cardboard and different coloured plastic packaging are being used as alternatives by Waitrose – which has set a target to make 100% of its product packaging from material that is considered ‘widely recyclable’ by 2023.

Tor Harris, head of CSR, health & agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said: “Eliminating black plastic is a priority for us. While removing it we have also taken the opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic of any colour by removing trays from fruit and veg like apples, broccoli and pak choi.

“We are making progress all the time and are determined to maintain our momentum which is why we’re now looking at ready meals and other products so we can achieve our aim of removing all black plastic from our own-label products by the end of 2019.”

Reusable containers

The retailer is also seeking