The brainchild of environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, the Trust Mark will be awarded to food and drink products that are packaged without plastic. Designed to sit clearly on the front of the pack, the Trust Mark is intended to advise consumers who want to make plastic-free choices.
A Plastic Planet claimed that everyday items containing plastic include: tinned beans; teabags; and glass bottle caps. Campaigners say the move will lead to a radical reduction in the amount of single-use plastic packaging food and drinks.
Early adoptees of A Plastic Planet’s Trust Mark include UK supermarket giant Iceland, Dutch retailer Ekoplaza and tea brand teapigs.
Iceland will begin to adopt the Trust Mark on relevant own-label products this month, and roll it out progressively across its range as it delivers its commitment to eliminate single-use plastic packaging of all Iceland own-label products by 2023.
The first products to feature the Trust Mark include Iceland’s own- brand eggs, cottage pie and vegetable burgers, delivering a reduction in plastic usage of over 600 tonnes per year. Other Iceland own-label foods expected to switch to non-plastic packaging during summer 2018 will include soft fruit, mushrooms and potatoes.
Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is 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.
Trust Mark-accredited packaging will include materials such as cartonboard, wood pulp, glass, metal and certified-compostable biomaterials.
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.”
Iceland managing director Richard Walker said: “With the grocery retail sector accounting for more than 40% 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.”
Ekoplaza chief executive Erik Does said: “The future has to be plastic-free. We are proud to be a showcase for how we can dramatically reduce plastic for our customers. We want it, they want it. Now the customer has the easy choice too. It’s fantastic that food manufacturers and retailers are coming together to create a better future for us all.”
Teapigs co-founder Louise Cheadle said: “We’re really pleased to add A Plastic Planet’s Trust Mark to our packaging. A lot of tea drinkers have been surprised to learn that many teabags contain plastic. Our tea “temples” have 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.”
Lee McBride, a partner at the law firm, Gowling WLG, said: “It is good to see these measures being taken seriously by a major supermarket in terms of best practice for others to follow. In isolation however, this is clearly not sufficient, as far as actual enforcement goes. I would encourage the incoming government to look closely at existing packaging laws and regulations with a view to making enforceable changes to ensure that product packaging is more easily recyclable in the first place.”