Can a supermarket make ready meals compostable?

Over the next few years, supermarket chain Waitrose plans to remove unnecessary packaging from its products, as well as introduce alternative packaging materials to make recycling easier for its customers.

Prioritising plastic

Waitrose is making the removal of unnecessary plastics a priority. Its ultimate aim is to eliminate unnecessary plastic, and make all own-brand packaging reusable, or out of widely recyclable or home-compostable material by 2023. In fact, the company has already made progress, with over 85% of its own-brand packaging now meeting this recyclable, reusable, or home compostable goal.

Compost ready

Waitrose is launching the world’s first home compostable ready meal packaging as it moves nearly nine million products out of black plastic trays. The pioneering packaging will initially replace many of the retailer’s Italian ready meal trays, saving 158 tonnes of black plastic. The new cream-coloured containers, which are fibre based, and similar in texture to cardboard, are also Forest Stewardship Council certified. Even better, the fibre-based packaging creates a 50% saving in Co2 emissions, and can be recycled.  

Reaching out

Plastics are an issue throughout any supermarket’s supply chain, but Waitrose is striving to find solutions to its supply chain’s plastic habit. In 2018, the company signed up to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, which aims to protect marine life, and minimise plastic pollution from abandoned fishing equipment. Waitrose is also working with stakeholders across the fishing industry to find solutions to lost and discarded fishing equipment.

This story shows how Waitrose supports Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, specifically Target 12.5: “By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.”

About Waitrose

Founded in 1904, Waitrose & Partners is a chain of British supermarkets, which forms the food retail division of the John Lewis Partnership. Its head office is based in Bracknell, Berkshire, England. Waitrose has 348 shops in England, Scotland, Wales, and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches.

Learn more about Waitrose.