Waitrose has begun the total removal of shrinkwrap plastic from its own-label tinned grocery products in a bid to axe single-use plastic in its stores.
The supermarket trialled the removal of shrinkwrap plastic, used to attach tinned multibuys, last year.
Waitrose said that removing this non-recyclable plastic from some of its “best selling everyday essentials” will save over 45 tonnes of plastic a year.
The retailer has committed to making all own-label packaging reusable or made from recyclable or home-compostable materials by 2023.
Waitrose and Partners also reported that the pandemic has prompted “record” sales of tinned food as a “shift in shopping behaviour” led customers to doing larger shops and “stocking up” on store cupboard staples and multibuys.
The supermarket said that many tinned products have current sales up by 50% compared to last year. The plastic has already been removed from cans of essential Waitrose kidney beans and sweetcorn with others following in the next few months.
The vast majority of multibuy cans will now be available loose, with the exception of tuna and tomatoes, which will move to a recyclable card sleeve.
Waitrose reported that the trial last year showed that customers “still prefer the convenience of buying certain canned foods together.”
Claire Mitchell, canned food buyer, Waitrose and Partners, said: “Our essential Waitrose tinned food has been selling in record numbers since March and we want to ensure that we can continue to give customers the best quality and value, without passing on the plastic on such popular products.
“Our customers expect us to keep tackling plastic, which includes eliminating single use shinkwrap on our multibuys. This is a significant step towards our plan to phase out non-recyclable plastic from all our packaging by 2021.”