Morrisons removes expanded polystyrene from own brand groceries, saving 600 tonnes of the stuff being used

Morrisons packaging. Pic: Matt Alexander/PA Wire
Morrisons packaging. Pic: Matt Alexander/PA Wire
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Big four supermarket Morrisons has reaffirmed its environmental credentials by taking out 600 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic packaging from its own brand groceries.

The Bradford-based grocer has removed expanded polystyrene, one of the most widely used plastics, from all of its food and drink products.

Morrisons says it is making the move because polystyrene is not recyclable at kerbside services, lasts for hundreds of years and is often seen in the environment where it’s easily blown away by the wind.

Natasha Cook, packaging manager at Morrisons, said: “Polystyrene is a particularly difficult material to recycle – so we wanted to take it out of our products quickly.

“Taking plastic out of the environment remains one of our customers’ most pressing concerns so we continue to remove unnecessary plastic packaging or make it more recyclable.”

The move will prevent 600 tonnes of the material being disposed of every year. Morrisons said polystyrene will be present in a “small number” of home and leisure products before being phased out in the next 12 months.

The supermarket used polystyrene on its fresh food counters - for meat and fish trays - and as a base for instore-made pizzas. It has also been used to package some delicate frozen desserts and cakes.

Approximately 90 million meat trays, fish trays and pizza bases were used in Morrisons last year.

The supermarket will instead introduce cardboard bases for pizzas and frozen goods. At its butchers and fishmongers clear recyclable plastic trays will be used – which are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Morrisons new more environmentally friendly packaging will also tell customers how it can be recycled. For example, the clear meat and fish trays feature the wording ‘rinse and recycle’ on the bottom.

The Bradford-based supermarket has committed that by no later than 2025, all of its own-brand plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.