Plastic peanut butter jars cut packaging at Sainsbury's

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Sainsbury's has replaced the glass used in its peanut butter jars with plastic, cutting packaging by 83% or 882,000 kilos. The change is the first of its kind by a UK retailer and puts Sainsbury's well on its way to meeting its target to cut total packaging by a third by 2015.

The new jars are just as functional as the previous ones, but the reduced weight means not only do they have a lower environmental impact, they also require less fuel to transport. As such, the new jars could reduce Sainsbury's carbon emissions by over 150 tonnes.

Stuart Lendrum, Sainsbury's head of packaging, said: "We have the most ambitious packaging reduction target in the industry and meeting it will require hundreds of initiatives such as this.

"Our work on peanut butter is a great example of how you can reduce packaging without sacrificing its effectiveness. In fact, the new jars will be less prone to breaking making them even better than the previous ones.

"Excess packaging is one of the top concerns among customers, so it is a real priority for us. It is vital that we strike the correct balance between ensuring packaging is functional and reducing the volume we use."

Sainsbury's has cut packaging levels by 12 million kilos over the past year, meaning around seven per cent of packaging has been removed from Sainsbury's own-brand products through new packaging design. This equates to an 11% reduction over the past two years.

Sainsbury's has made hundreds of changes to its packaging over the past year. Taste the Difference ready meals for example, have had the size of their outer sleeves reduced by 45%, leading to a saving of over 5,500,000 kilos of cardboard each year.

Other packaging changes that have contributed to the 12 million kilo total include

  • introducing heat-seal lids on soft fruit lines, yielding over 440 tonnes of packaging reduction each year
  • reducing our Easter egg packaging by 57% since 2008
  • removing the cartons from our canned Ventresca tuna fillets, reducing the packaging by 20% and saving around 880 kilos of cardboard each year
  • reducing the cardboard on our pizza base mix, saving 87% of packaging or 8,900 kilos each year.

Sainsbury's has been at the forefront of packaging reduction for many years, and was an original signatory to the first Courtauld Commitment, a voluntary agreement with WRAP to improve resource efficiency and reduce the carbon and wider environmental impact of grocery retail. The supermarket has remained committed to this responsibility deal, during the development and launch of Courtauld II and is currently working with WRAP towards Courtauld III.

Notes to editors

  • For Sainsbury's, corporate responsibility means many things. It is about providing our customers with the widest choice of quality food, at fair prices. But also about paying our suppliers a fair price and providing the reassurance of knowing that they have a buyer for their products on reasonable terms. It means enriching our communities through employment and career development opportunities, while growing our business profitably for our shareholders. And it means making the most effective use of our valuable resources like water and electricity, and respecting the local environment.

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About the article

  • Posted on: 22 September 2011
  • Type of article: Press release

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