SPAR retailers in Italy and the UK address plastic waste

August 1, 2023 IN THE CATEGORY: All News

SPAR is committed to reducing negative environmental impacts, including from plastic waste. Worldwide, over 390 million metric tonnes of plastic are produced annually, leading to alarming amounts of waste in land and water*. The inability of plastic to decompose makes collection challenging, resulting in small particles contaminating our food and water supply.

With the majority of produced plastic being used for packaging purposes and limited recycling possibilities, efforts of SPAR country organisations on plastic reduction in their stores are important to tackle this issue. In this article, we highlight SPAR Italy’s initiative on biodegradable bags and support of SPAR UK in minimising plastic in stores.

SPAR Italy’s distributor Maiora launched biodegradable bags

SPAR Italy regional distributor Maiora (DESPAR Centro-Sud) in December 2022 renewed its partnership with Legambiente, an Italian environmental association, and launched 100% biodegradable and compostable organic shopping bags. These bags support Legambiente’s sea turtle recovery centres and care activities, raising awareness for environmental sustainability and endangered species preservation. Maiora’s involvement in Legambiente’s ‘Tartalove’ project helps safeguard the endangered Caretta sea turtles, addressing a threat of sea plastic pollution.

SPAR UK plastic initiatives

SPAR UK has been part of the WRAP UK Plastics Act since 2018. The WRAP UK Plastics Act is a collaborative initiative that brings together suppliers and retail businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with the UK government, NGOs and trade organisations to tackle plastic waste. This demonstrates SPAR’s clear commitment to reducing the use of plastics. Since SPAR UK joined the UK Plastics Act, over 524 tonnes of virgin plastic have been removed.

SPAR UK incorporated various practices to reduce plastic waste in their own brand products including:

  • eliminating black plastic and replacing it with clear plastic, within its own label product range;
  • soft drinks bottles and plastic trays have a minimum of 46% recycled content;
  • plastic wraps for multipack cans and tins have been removed;
  • only wooden and recycled plastic sporks are used for ready meals and fresh fruit pots;
  • SPAR branded ready meals contain 80% recycled material and are fully recyclable;
  • there is no more plastic in teabags and coffee pods;
  • all SPAR Own Brand products include recycling information logos – ‘OPRL logos.’

Through additional 2025 commitments, SPAR UK is striving to eliminate single-use plastic altogether from its own brand range.

Sources: SPAR Italy, SPAR UK, *Plastics Europe

Read more about SPAR’s responsible retailing strategy.