Ocean size commitment: As part of ongoing commitments to be more sustainable, Waitrose pledges to help intercept and reuse more plastic packaging thrown away at high risk coastal areas before it ends up in the Ocean

POP-ular products: Over 100 tonnes of Prevented Ocean Plastic estimated to be used across 71 product family favourites

UK first: Waitrose will be the first supermarket in the UK to use POP in packaging used for its best selling own label ready meals

To coincide with World Ocean Day (June 8), Waitrose is today pledging to use more Prevented Ocean Plastic* (POP™) in its own-label packaging, with over 100 tonnes** estimated to be used this year – the equivalent of saving almost 4 million plastic bottles from the ocean.

As well as being the first British supermarket to use Prevented Ocean Plastic in packaging for 13 lines across its ready meal range, due to launch later this year, Waitrose is also using POP™ more widely across a broad range of its own label packaging, supplied by Sharpak***, including fruit, veg, family and health, with others to follow.

Waitrose is working toward its commitment for a minimum of 30% recycled content in plastics, using POP™ where possible. All of the plastic tray packaging across its own label fruit is already composed of 80% or more recycled content.

Marija Rompani, Director of Ethics & Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, comments: “It’s estimated that 90% of the plastic in our oceans comes from just 10 rivers around the world, with coastal regions in Southeast Asia identified as being at particular risk.

“Our customers have told us they want to see more packaging made from recycled content on our shelves and with vast amounts of plastic already in the world, we are committed to repurposing where we can and using more sustainable options. There is more to do but we hope that by using more Prevented Ocean Plastics in our packaging, we can be part of the solution to this hugely significant global issue.”

Ben Tingley, Product and Business Development Lead at the Prevented Ocean Plastic Research Centre, comments: “World Ocean Day is a moment for our industry and community to come together to progress fully traceable ocean plastic prevention and bring recycled plastic into products on shelves. We can already see the significant impact this is having not only on our oceans but also to the communities that live in coastal areas most affected by plastic pollution. We therefore hope other businesses will follow in the footsteps of retailers like Waitrose and commit to using more Prevented Ocean Plastic in their packaging to give customers a better plastic choice when making day to day shopping decisions.”

It’s estimated that eight million tonnes of plastics end up in our oceans each year. However, in 2020, the POP™ scheme prevented more than 830 million bottles from polluting the seas – revealing the impact the initiative is having.

POP™ is not only helping to prevent ocean plastic at scale, importantly, it is incentivising local recycling by creating an income for coastal plastic collectors and in turn increasing demand for recycled plastic across the industry.

Learn more about Prevented Ocean Plastic here.

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