Little by little

IGO wine cans. Images (combined): Waitrose

This week, the English government has finally confirmed a ban on single-use plastic cutlery items, following similar bans in Scotland and Wales.

This includes plastic plates, trays and polystyrene cups, but, according to The Independent, not those used for packaging takeaway items available from supermarkets and other shops. This is due to the fact that such plastics would be considered “primary packaging” and will be covered by a scheme aimed at making manufacturers pay for disposal costs due to come in 2024.

It’s definitely a step in the right direction but is being criticised by many as too late and too little action. Megan Randles from Greenpeace UK commented: “This is like reaching for a mop instead of turning off the tap… We need the government to deliver a meaningful plastic reduction strategy, which means bringing in plastic reduction targets and a proper reuse and refill scheme.”

Elsewhere in the UK news, supermarket chain Waitrose has announced it is planning to cut down on its heavy glass wine packaging by switching to cans. All of its 187ml glass wine bottles will be swapped out for 187ml, 200ml and 250ml sized aluminium cans.

According to The Guardian, Waitrose has commented that the move is not a cost-saving one, as it costs more to fill a can, but rather wholly sustainability-focused: by making the switch to metal packaging, Waitrose is set to save more than 300 tonnes of glass packaging and halve the carbon footprint per drink.

Barry Dick MW, beer, wine and spirit bulk sourcing manager at Waitrose, commented: “We’re delighted to pioneer this move and make reducing waste even easier for our customers… We know that more people are buying their drinks in canned formats, from cocktails on-the-go to craft beer, which is why making this shift in our wine category makes so much sense… We hope the move will encourage suppliers to continue to develop a diverse and exciting range of wines in cans.”

There certainly is no shortage on the product innovation front, and hopefully Waitrose can extend its packaging policy to more than just its wines in the near future, setting a more prominent example for others to follow and quickly.

Keep up-to-date with the latest product news on our website here.

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