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M & S use recycled plastic bottles for food packaging

July 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Marks & Spencer have become the first supermarket in the UK to use food packaging made from recycled plastic bottles. Described as a “groundbreaking step forwards”, this move is part of the supermarket’s commitment to its sustainability pledge, Plan A, which has already seen the retailer take huge steps towards addressing issues such as climate change, ethical trade, health, the responsible use of natural resources and waste.

Many of Marks & Spencer’s ‘Food To Go’ salads are to be packaged in plastics which contain up to 40% recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate). This has been used before in the manufacture of milk bottles (and is in common usage in synthetic fibres such as Terylene and Dacron), but it is thought that M&S are the first to use it in food packaging.

M&S has worked closely with Dagenham-based company Closed Loop Recycling, which also offers office workers in four large cities in the UK (Greater London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham) the opportunity to recycle their food packaging waste. It is hoped that by next year the scheme can be introduced nationwide.

The head of packaging at M&S, Dr Helene Roberts, described the initiative as “closing the loop” for food recycling in the UK. Consumers have long been pressurising the food industry to take a look at their green credentials and address the issue of sustainability of packaging.

Chris Dow of Closed Loop explained that each plastic bottle that is recycled reduces the carbon footprint by 55%, resulting in huge benefits for the environment.

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