SPAR UK cuts 300 tonnes of plastic from own brand packaging in one year

June 8, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Environment, Responsible retailing

SPAR UK has removed nearly 300 tonnes of virgin plastic from 53 own brand products in one year. As part of a packaging revamp, it has also prevented over 100 tonnes of black plastic going in the landfill and added recycling information on over 700 SPAR own brand products.

Speaking on its commitment to remove as much plastic as possible from the entire SPAR own brand range, Cath McIlwham, Head of CSR at SPAR UK, said: “A year ago we made a huge commitment to eliminate black plastic from our SPAR own label packaging range by the end of 2020 and we are delighted to be working well ahead of our target.”

“We know that protecting the planet for the future is important to our customers and retailers and we have shown how committed we are to reducing the amount of plastic we use and ensuring packaging is recyclable where possible,” she said.

By 2025, SPAR UK looks to eliminate single-use plastic from its own brand range. It also aims to have an average of 30% recycled content in plastic packaging and ensure 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.

To date, SPAR has removed nearly 300 tonnes of virgin plastic by including recycled plastic in the packaging of 53 SPAR own brand products. This includes SPAR waters, dilutes, cider, and mixers, which now have up to 51% recycled plastic in the bottles.

The group has prevented over 100 tonnes of black plastic going to landfill by replacing it in 45 products with other alternatives such as clear plastic, or recycled plastic. Its own brand ready meal trays now include 80% recycled material and are fully recyclable.

“We know that being environmentally friendly is a really important area of concern for our customers. Our research showed that our customers wanted more information on recycling. As a result, we are putting the OPRL (on-pack recycling logo) on all our own label packaging,” added McIlwham.

SPAR stores around the UK are developed using the latest technology in terms of energy-efficient equipment like led lighting and energy-saving refrigeration.

Selected SPAR stores provide several refill options including water, milk, dried goods, and household products. Besides, several stores are signed up as refill stations on the Water Refill app.

Source: SPAR UK


The UK became a member of SPAR in 1956 when a group of independent wholesalers was granted the SPAR licence by SPAR International. There are five regional partners in the UK with strategically placed Distribution Centres in each region. A central office, located in London, provides national marketing and buying services for the group and supports the development of the brand.

SPAR has led the convenience market in the UK for many years but has faced increasing competition. Always innovative, the five regional partners have continued to grow the brand. Throughout the UK, a combination of independently-owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores can be found, spanning forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhoods.

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