Sainsbury’s steak packaging switches from plastic to cardboard in latest sustainability move

By Augustus Bambridge-Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Image Source: Sainsbury's
Image Source: Sainsbury's

Related tags Sainsbury's Plastic packaging Steak

Supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s has replaced the plastic packaging on its ‘by Sainsbury’s’ steak range. This will remove 70% of the plastic per tray.

The move by Sainsbury’s is projected to cut down on around 10 million pieces of plastic, and 249 tonnes per year. The new packaging was launched on 5 July across 10 products.

The move is part of Sainsbury’s efforts to be more sustainable, and follows changes to its Taste the Difference and So Organic steak ranges.

Back in April, it also removed the trays for whole chickens, and the plastic bags for its banana range, cutting down significantly on packaging waste. The latter of these aimed to saves 192 tonnes of plastic.

It was also the first retailer in the UK to change to cardboard cartons for its own-brand liquid laundry detergent range, saving 22 tonnes of plastic each year, according to Sainsbury’s.

As part of our Plan for Better commitments​,” said Claire Hughes, Sainsbury’s’ director of Product and Innovation, “we are trying to reduce plastic packaging across our own brand ranges, as we know that reducing plastic is important to our customers but also on our environmental impact.​”

Sainsbury’s’ Plan for Better is a business-wide sustainability measure, where the company have aligned its plans to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As well as sustainability, the project focuses on health and human rights.

“It’s why we are always looking at ways to innovate our packaging and reduce or replace plastic wherever we can, as quickly as we can,” ​Hughes continued.

We’re pleased to save another 10 million pieces of plastic a year by swapping our ‘by Sainsbury’s’ steak trays to cardboard following the changes we have already made on So Organic and Taste the Difference packaging.

“While we are making good progress, we know there is more to do and we are committed to making bold changes that help us achieve our plastic reduction targets​.”

The response

The charity A Plastic Planet responded to Sainsbury’s latest announcement, criticising the retailer for not going far enough.

Sainsbury’s may be well intentioned in its strategy to reduce plastic, but its green crusade continues to fall short of the mark​,” said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet and Plastic Free.

A switch to cardboard can be a net benefit but the flexible plastic sealed over the produce is near impossible to recycle, instead being incinerated or buried in landfill. Many of the chemicals in flexible plastics are deemed toxic for human health by global expert scientists. We need to try harder​.

A switch to natural materials and circular systems of refill will be the vehicle to remove ourselves from the plastic crisis, not half-baked ideas. Simply put, if you are going to do a job then do it properly​.” 

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