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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Waitrose To Cut Packaging in Half By 2016

Waitrose last week pledged to slash its packaging in half by 2016, announcing three major changes to its product ranges that will help achieve this target and altogether save nearly 100 tons of packaging each year.

The company has re-launched its "Menu from Waitrose" offering of premade meals with a full redesign and packaging update for all of the 49 products within the offering. The width of the sleeves on the outside of the products has also been decreased, resulting in a reduction of 33 tons of packaging per year — equivalent to a 20 percent overall weight saving.

Waitrose also has introduced aluminum trays for ready meals, lacquered inside and out, to achieve a more earthenware appearance. The company says customers can cook and serve the meals in the same tray and are still able to recycle it after use.

The company’s "Good to Go" range of 190 snacks and sandwiches has also been relaunched, with packaging reductions totaling 25 tons per year. Changes include increasing the size of the clear window on sandwiches to allow better visibility of the product, cutting 11 tons of packaging per year. Pre-printed bags for fruit portions were also developed, saving 60 percent of the weight by taking off the label.

After being introduced for mince and diced meat in 2010, the company has gradually rolled out ‘flow wrap’ packaging for all meat products. By removing the plastic tray in the packs of pork and lamb, Waitrose hopes to cut back on 38 tons of packaging per year — a reduction of 70 percent.

“We are always working hard to reduce packaging where we can, to decrease the waste reaching our customers’ bins and ensure they can recycle as much as possible,” said Karen Graley, Waitrose Packaging and Reprographics Manager. “Re-launching a range is a fantastic opportunity to do this and cutting packaging by nearly 100 tons per year is a great result to have achieved on our journey to halving packaging by 2016.”

The packaging reduction goal is one of the twelve pledges in the Waitrose Way commitments, which also launched last week. The commitments span the four ‘Waitrose Way’ CSR pillars: Treading Lightly, Championing British, Treating People Fairly and Living Well, and consolidate the retailer's responsibility work into one place — setting clear targets for the business to achieve.

Earlier this year, the John Lewis Partnership committed to developing a 'closed loop' waste plastics strategy to collect all plastics waste from John Lewis and Waitrose locations each year and recycle them into products such as plastic planks, boards and sheeting.

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