Retailer Waitrose is trialling three of its Italian ready meals in a widely recyclable fibre-based tray to replace black plastic trays.
This move builds on its successful June trial of the fibre-based alternative to black plastic, as well as its commitment to remove own-label black plastic packaging by the end of 2019.
The trial is larger than the initial one in June as the meals are in the majority of its stores.
This investment in a material to replace the black plastic tray has seen it develop a cream coloured fibre-based tray, which feels like cardboard, and is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
It is also labelled as widely recycled and says on the packaging to rinse the tray and put it with paper recycling.
The supermarket has worked with its packaging supplier, Huhtamaki, to use the latest technology to ensure that the trays can be heated in the oven and microwaved.
Waitrose packaging manager Karen Graley said: “Black plastic continues to be a challenge to recycle. This is why we see innovating in alternative materials as so important. If our trial is a success, we’ll be looking to roll it out further and this could potentially save millions of plastic trays going to landfill every year. Customer feedback from the June trial has been really positive with shoppers asking where the fibre-based trays went after the trial ended.
“Ready meals have historically used a great deal of black plastic – but hopefully this will be the beginning of the end for this hard to recycle form of packaging.’’
The three meals in this trial are: Macaroni Cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese and Tuna Pasta Bake.