Waitrose launch “world’s first” home compostable ready meal packaging

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Retailer Waitrose & Partners has announced that it is launching the “world’s first” home compostable ready meal packaging, as it removes nearly nine million products out of black plastic. 

This new packaging will initially replace many of the supermarket’s Italian ready meal trays, saving 158 tonnes of black plastic. 

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The new cream-coloured containers, which are fibre-based and similar in texture to cardboard, are now certified home compostable for the first time. It is Forest Stewardship Council certified, creating a 50% saving in CO2 emissions, and is also recyclable.  

Waitrose Environment Manager Ben Thomas will be speaking at The Recycling Event on 2 July at the Ricoh Arena about how the retailer is reducing its use of plastic packaging. Info: https://www.therecyclingevent.com/

Waitrose & Partners has worked with its suppliers, Huhtamaki and Saladworks, to use the latest technology to ensure the trays can be heated in the oven and microwave and is cool to touch after cooking. 

This packaging innovation means that millions of ready meals will be taken out of black plastic as the retailer continues its commitment to remove the material on all its own brand products by the end of 2019.  

The majority of black plastic packaging is coloured using carbon black pigments which do not allow the pack to be easily sorted by systems widely used in plastic recycling. From this, the packaging can end up as residue and disposed of in landfill.  

Waitrose & Partners packaging and reprographics manager Karen Graley said: “Pioneering the first home compostable ready meal packaging that ensures customers can continue to cook their food quickly, safely, and now more sustainably, is a major breakthrough in packaging innovation. This step – combined with moving millions of ready meals out of black plastic - is a significant milestone in how we package food and eliminate hard to recycle material for good.” 

The new Italian ready meal packaging will be available in Waitrose & Partners shops from 29 May and will now include Chilli Prawn Spaghetti, Broccoli Orechiette and Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake. 

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