SPAR Austria conducts trial on free paper bags for fruit and vegetables

August 21, 2018 IN THE CATEGORY: Environment, Responsible retailing

When it comes to plastic waste, fruit and vegetable packaging is one of the biggest challenges food retailers face. In an attempt to address this problem, SPAR Austria has introduced free paper bags for fruit and vegetables, on a trial basis, in 11 INTERSPAR Hypermarkets in Salzburg and Styria.

This isn’t the first step the SPAR Partner has taken to reduce plastic waste. In April, it introduced a drawstring polyester net for loose fruit in all INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. The reusable bag is washable and environmentally friendly, and is available as a four-pack for €1,49. Up to eight pieces of fruit or vegetables can be transported per bag.

“Ideally, our customers carry a reusable net with them for their fruit and vegetables, but we also need to offer another solution. For this reason, we are testing the use of free paper bags,” said Managing Director of INTERSPAR Austria, Markus Kaser.

Lessons from the past

In 2016, SPAR Austria experimented with the use of brown paper bags in a limited number of stores in Vienna. Unfortunately, the bags proved impractical as cashiers couldn’t easily see the contents. Based on that learning, the new trial is being conducted with transparent parchment paper bags which are also a more optimal size. The paper bags are made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and can be disposed of organically.

Continued efforts to reduce plastic waste

SPAR Austria is contributing to the reduction of plastic through a variety of measures and as part of the sustainability agenda from the Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, SPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets managed to save more than 20% of fruit & veg plastic bag waste last year.

However, it’s not just fruit and vegetable packaging that the company is concerned with. Across all product ranges, attention is being given to using environmentally-friendly packaging. For example, the packaging of SPAR enjoy sandwiches has changed from plastic to cardboard, helping to save 22 tons of plastic per year.

Source: SPAR Austria

About SPAR Austria

The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954 and the current SPAR AG was created in 1970, when the original founding families joined with other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company.

With licences granted by SPAR International, ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG) has developed SPAR in Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and northern Italy.

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