Supermarkets are to ban hard-to-recycle black plastic trays in UK stores by Christmas

Supermarkets are to ban hard-to-recycle black plastic trays in UK stores by Christmas in pollution crackdown

  • Morrisons pledged to make 4,000 tonnes of packaging recyclable last week
  • Tonnes of black plastic either end up in a landfill or an incinerator each year 
  • Black plastic contains a pigment that can’t be detected by recycling machines

Major supermarkets, including Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, are set to ditch black plastic from their own-label food and drink ranges within the next three months.

This move follows Morrisons who last week pledged to make 4,000 tonnes of their packaging recyclable for the first time.

The problem with black plastic trays is that they cannot be picked out by the laser sorting machines installed in rubbish collection and recycling centres.

Major supermarkets including Waitrose , Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda are set to ditch black plastic from their own-label food and drink ranges within the next three months (stock image)

As a result the billions sold every year in the UK end up being burned for energy or dumped in landfill, where they will take many decades to break down.   

Yesterday trade magazine The Grocer revealed that all other major supermarkets are on course to match Morrisons’s achievement by the end of January next year.

Tesco said it would have removed all black plastic by the end of December and was now ‘working with branded suppliers to do the same.’

Asda will remove black plastic by the end of 2019. 

This move follows Morrisons who last week pledged to make 4,000 tonnes of their packaging recyclable for the first time (stock image)

This move follows Morrisons who last week pledged to make 4,000 tonnes of their packaging recyclable for the first time (stock image)

The problem with black plastic trays is that they cannot be picked out by the laser sorting machines installed in rubbish collection and recycling centres

The problem with black plastic trays is that they cannot be picked out by the laser sorting machines installed in rubbish collection and recycling centres

It has already removed ‘775 tonnes of previously unrecyclable plastic’ when it removed 45 million ready meal trays containing black plastic from its range.

Sainsbury’s was another supermarket set to remove black plastic by the end of December – by which time 6,000 tonnes of material will be changed to recyclable alternatives.

Waitrose said it had removed nearly 90 per cent of the 2,291 tonnes of black plastic it uses as of the end of October and was ‘well on track’ to get rid of it fully by the end of December. 

The Co-op mirrored that promise and said black plastic will been removed from over 300 lines. 

Asda will remove black plastic by the end of 2019. It has already removed '775 tonnes of previously unrecyclable plastic' when it removed 45 million ready meal trays containing black plastic from its range (stock image)

Asda will remove black plastic by the end of 2019. It has already removed ‘775 tonnes of previously unrecyclable plastic’ when it removed 45 million ready meal trays containing black plastic from its range (stock image)

Iceland’s head of recycling Stuart Lendrum said: ‘We have been making good progress with eliminating black plastic across the board.’ 

He added that it expected not to be packing any Iceland own-label products in black plastic by the end of January 2020. 

Marks & Spencer is on track to remove black plastic before the end of next year. 

Aldi also has a target of the end of 2020.