Latest announcement from Morrison’s

  • Morrisons is to become the first British supermarket to roll-out plastic free fruit and veg areas in many of its stores.
  • Customers will be able to choose from up to 127 varieties of fruit and veg – and buy them loose or put them in recyclable paper bags.
  • The move follows a ten-month trial in three Morrisons stores in Skipton, Guiseley and St Ives where the amount of loose fruit and veg bought by customers increased by an average of 40 per cent.
  • The new ‘buy bagless’ fruit and veg shelves are expected to save an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week, equating to 156 tonnes a year.

Every little helps

This change made by Morrison’s will reduce roughly 9,000 tonnes of unnecessary or problematic plastic every year.

This figure includes 174m plastic produce bags removed from fruit and veg aisles, and 600 tonnes of unrecyclable polystyrene removed from branded food and drink products.

Besides, a further 1,300 tonnes of plastic will be removed this month because of the launch of paper carrier bags.

Impact

The loose fruit and veg areas will be rolled out in 60 Morrisons stores during the course of 2019. They will then continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket’s ongoing store refurbishment programme in the UK to save even more plastic over time.

The loose veg range includes everyday essentials such as carrots, potatoes, and onions as well as more unusual seasonal varieties such as celeriac. Fruit will include apples, pears, and oranges, plus figs, persimmons and pomegranates.  

Drew Kirk, Fruit and Veg Director at Morrisons told MailOnline: ‘Many of our customers would like the option of buying their fruit and veg loose. So we’re creating an area of our greengrocery with no plastic where they can pick as much or as little as they like.’

‘We’re going back to using traditional greengrocery and we hope customers appreciate the choice.’

Morrison’s plastic reduction initiatives are detailed in its 2018-19 Corporate Responsibility Review. The review also details that the group has reduced carbon emissions by 45 percent since 2005.

Criticism

Tesco and Sainsbury’s – two of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets are claimed by Greenpeace that they have not done enough to remove plastic from their aisles, just several weeks after the news coming out.

Sainsbury’s has previously promised to reduce plastic by just 77 tonnes since last January through removing plastic packaging from gift cards.

Meanwhile, Tesco reports having removed just a million pieces of plastic from its stores, by phasing plastic straws out from its cafes.

Both supermarkets have made other pledges to tackle the plastic menace, although they cannot say how many tonnes or pieces of plastic these will remove.

But compared to other Big Four supermarkets, Asda and Morrisons, they have drawn up fewer strategies to tackle plastic and failed to tackle plastic cutlery in stores or bring in paper bags for produce.