The world’s first plastic-free Trust Mark to help shoppers know which products are made from eco-friendly packaging will be appearing in supermarkets from this month.
Iceland, will become the first retailer to adopt the mark which was developed by environmental campaigners A Plastic Planet who are also calling for a plastic-free aisle in every supermarket.
Many products including tinned beans, chewing gum, wet wipes, glass jars, and teabags contain hidden plastic which makes them difficult to recycle.
Iceland will begin to adopt the Trust Mark on own-label products this month as part of its commitment to eliminate single-use plastic packaging of all its own products by 2023.
A Plastic Planet Co-Founder Sian Sutherland said: “Now we all know the damage our addiction to plastic has caused, we want to do the right thing and buy plastic-free. But it is harder than you think and a clear no-nonsense label is much needed.
“Our Trust Mark cuts through the confusion of symbols and labels and tells you just one thing – this packaging is plastic-free and therefore guilt-free. Finally shoppers can be part of the solution not the problem.”
The first products to feature the Trust Mark include Iceland’s own-brand eggs, cottage pie and vegetable burgers, which the supermarket says will take more than 600 tonnes of plastic out of circulation each year. Soft fruit, mushrooms and potatoes are also expected to switch to non-plastic this summer.
It is hoped the mark will stop huge amounts of plastic entering the ocean. Each year more than 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally, and 10 per cent will end up in the sea.
It is estimated that there is now a 1:2 ratio of plastic to plankton and, left unchecked, plastic will outweigh fish by 2050. Marine animals cannot digest it and it has been shown that even humans who eat seafood ingest 11,000 pieces of microplastic each year.
Plasticis notoriously difficult to recycle - and only 12 per cent of household waste is reprocessed. The rest is either burnt or goes to landfill.
Iceland Managing Director Richard Walker said: “With the grocery retail sector accounting for more than 40 per cent of plastic packaging in the UK, it’s high time that Britain’s supermarkets came together to take a lead on this issue.
“I’m proud to lead a supermarket that is working with A Plastic Planet to realise a plastic-free future for food and drink retail.”
The brand Teapigs will also become the first to add the mark to packaging. It recently emerged that many teabags use polypropylene, a sealing plastic, to keep the tea bags from falling apart.
Teapigs Co-Founder Louise Cheadle said: “A lot of tea drinkers have been surprised to learn that many teabags contain plastic.
“Our tea has always been plastic free and our clear inner bags (that keep the tea nice and fresh) are made from Natureflex which looks like plastic but is made from wood pulp. The trust mark will make it easy for consumers to make the right plastic-free choices”
Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza - the first in the world to install a plastic-free aisle - is also rolling out the Trust Mark across 74 outlets across the Netherlands with the aim to have each store representing the mark as well as featuring it on selected products of the Ekoplaza own brand by the end of the year.