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Waitrose removed 1,300 tonnes of black plastic from its products in 2018

Undated handout photo issued by Waitrose of one of their stores. More than 1,300 tonnes of black plastic was removed from the supermarket’s Photo:

Waitrose removed more than 1,300 tonnes of environmentally unfriendly black plastic from its products in 2018, the supermarket has announced.

Black plastic, which is difficult to recycle, has been removed from hundreds of Waitrose products including its own-brand fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetable packaging.

The material, which is coloured with black carbon pigments, cannot easily be sorted in the recycling process meaning much of it ends up in landfill, according to a statement from the supermarket.

Waitrose aims to remove black plastic from all its own-brand products by the end of 2019 – and is more than halfway towards achieving the goal, it said.

Waitrose is removing black plastic trays from fruit products Credit: Nick Ansell/PA

Waitrose spokeswoman Tor Harris said: “Eliminating black plastic is a key 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 are 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.”

Waitrose said it has reduced its use of packaging by nearly 50% since 2009, and disposable coffee cups have been removed from its stores.

The supermarket is replacing loose fruit and veg bags with compostable alternatives and removing 5p single-use carrier bags later this year.

By Christmas in 2020, Waitrose products including cards and crackers will either be glitter-free or made using an environmentally friendly alternative.