In a world first, Sainsburys has launched packaging which can be used on wet products and is home compostable.
The retailer has teamed up with global packaging company Amcor Flexibles to use a compostable film in its So organic wild rocket range. The packaging will initially be trialled in 40 stores as Sainsburys aims to meet customer sustainability needs and help cut their household waste.
Speaking to MRW Sainsburys packaging manager Stuart Lendrum said: This is a new material that you can use on moist and damp products and is good for fresh produce like fresh prepared salad.
It has passed all the health and safety food contact legislation, is labelled and is described as a step forward from Sainsburys.
We only support using home compostable materials and do not support using biodegradable ones, Lendrum explained.
He said that Sainsburys do not believe that biodegradable material will break down in landfill and does not feel comfortable with it and is doubtful if it will work.
Lendrum said: In packaging we face real challenges and no issue is straight forward and no answer will be black and white.
Research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme said that consumers were confused by various forms of packaging terms such as biodegradable and compostable. It said that clear labelling and guidelines could help users to get a better understanding of the terms.
Amcor Flexibles took 18 months to develop the film. Sustainable product development manager
Peter Ettridge said: Sainsburys challenged us to deliver a non-genetically modified, compostable film for prepared produce. We created a revolutionary new concept which maximises both seal integrity and barrier properties. The new film is water resistant and can run in a wet environment at standard speeds. We are very excited about this new concept.
He said that local authorities should help retailers to help customers recycle by maximising inputs for green waste and industrial composting. He complained that local authorities lacked recycling consistency and should create a uniform local authority recycling network across the country.
Friends of the Earth senior waste policy officer Michael Warhurst said: It is good to have proper compostable materials as long as theyre properly labelled.
Lendrum added: We have been on a journey with composting since 2004 and have made multiple firsts in terms of the things that we have done. This is another step on that journey.
Our mantra is to reduce, re-use, recycle and to back home composting.
This pushes us forward and keeps us plugging away.
Image: Sainsbury's So organic wild rocket packaging