Morrisons the first UK supermarket to introduce plastic-free areas for fruit and veg

More than 100 varieties of fruit and veg will become available to buy loose, or in recyclable paper bags in many of Morrisons’ stores

Morrisons the first supermarket to ban plastic packaging on fruit & veg

Morrisons have announced it’s to introduce plastic-free fruit and vegetable areas in many of its stores, becoming the first major British supermarket chain to make loose produce widely available since the move away from excessive plastic packaging in the UK.

Priced at 20p each, the paper bags have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags. They are also 100% PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) accredited, meaning they are sourced from forests that are managed responsibly. Morrisons is encouraging shoppers to reuse and eventually recycle them.
Morrisons’ US-style recyclable paper grocery bags are priced at 20p Priced at 20p each, the paper bags have handles and are a similar capacity to standard plastic carrier bags. They are also 100% PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) accredited, meaning they are sourced from forests that are managed responsibly. Morrisons is encouraging shoppers to reuse and eventually recycle them. Source: Mikael Buck/Morrisons/PA

Morrisons unveils plastic-free fruit and veg zones plan in UK

The announcement follows a ten-month trial in three Morrisons stores in Skipton, Guiseley and St Ives where the amount of loose fruit and vegetables bought by customers increased by an average of 40%. 

The new “buy bagless” fruit and veg shelves are expected to result in a similar switch from bagged to loose – saving an estimated three tons of plastic per week, equating to 156 tons a year.

Customers will see an entire section of the fruit and veg department with no plastic. However, there will be a neighbouring section where customers can still buy packaged veg if they choose. 

When customers buy loose fruit and veg, they can either take them through the checkout loose or bag them in Morrisons’ recyclable paper bags.

This is the latest announcement from Morrisons – which made changes that will remove 9,000 tons of unnecessary or problematic plastic waste each year. 

This figure includes:

  • 174 million plastic produce bags removed from fruit and veg aisles
  • 600 tons of non-recyclable polystyrene removed from branded food and drink products
  • amd a further 1,300 tons of plastic will be removed as a result of the launch of paper carrier bags this month.

The loose fruit and veg zones 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 program nationwide – saving 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. 

Fruit will include apples, pears and oranges, plus figs, persimmons and pomegranates. The expansion of the range means that for the first time, customers will also be able to buy loose cauliflower, white cabbage and chestnut mushrooms.


Morrisons is a founding member of the UK Plastics PACT The UK Plastics PACT is a collaborative commitment which joins up all stakeholders in the plastics system – businesses, Government, local authorities, Environmental Organisations, and the wider public to ensure that all plastic packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable. Source: YouTube/WRAP

Steps Morrisons have taken already against plastic, and what they plan next

Morrisons has announced a number of measures to reduce plastic pollution on their blog My.Morrisons and also made a promise that, by no later than 2025, all of their own-brand plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Morrisons is one of the signatories to WRAP’s UK Plastics PACT, an industry initiative which aims to transform the way businesses use plastic and prevent plastics polluting the environment. 

They’ve already taken steps to cut plastic waste, and have a number of plans to make an even bigger difference. Research indicated that plastic reduction is now the third most important issue to Morrisons’ customers.

"Reducing the damage caused by plastic is one of the most challenging issues society can address.  Because we make most of the fresh food we sell, we’re in an important position to make changes to our packaging.  Joining WRAP’s Plastic PACT also offers a special opportunity to work collaboratively to take this opportunity,” said David Potts, Chief Executive of Morrisons.

Measures Morrisons has already implemented 

They will still serve customers from the Morrisons Market Street Butcher and Fishmonger counter using their store containers – but you can now bring your own container if you’d prefer to be served your meat and fish in this. 

  • Morrisons no longer buys plastic drinking straws
  • They now only buys cotton buds with paper stems rather than plastic ones
  • They no longer sells 5p single-use carrier bags

What they plan next to reduce plastic pollution

  • Working through all of their own brand products to identify, reduce and remove any unnecessary plastic packaging.  
  • Trialling the effect of removing plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables in a number of stores – they will look at how plastic packaging, which keeps food fresh, can be reduced without increasing food waste.
  • Making more packaging recyclable – one of the first pieces of packaging to be replaced will be black plastic trays, used for fresh meat and fish. They’ll be phased out by the end of 2019.
  • Fitting drinking water fountains into new stores – they’ve already made water freely available in their cafés for customers who want to refill their water bottles.

Since 2010, Morrisons has reduced the weight of packaging used across its Market Street counters by 50% (10,000 tonnes)

To learn more about Morrisons’ Corporate Responsibly pledges as signatories to WRAP’s UK Plastics PACT click HERE.

Supermarket chain Aldi announces 100% sustainable packaging by 2025. The grocery giant has pledged to offer 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging on all of their products by 2025. More HERE.

And Iceland, the UK’s leading frozen food specialist, is committing to become the first major retailer globally to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own brand products by the end of 2023. More HERE.

Source: My.Morrisons


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