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Source: Iceland

Iceland put more own-label plastic packaging on the UK market in 2021 than it did in 2019, according to its latest plastic footprint report, which the supermarket quietly uploaded to its corporate website.

Iceland pledged in 2018 to eliminate plastic from own-label ranges altogether by the end of 2023 – a target MD Richard Walker admitted earlier this year was no longer attainable thanks to pandemic setbacks and a lack of viable alternatives.

But the amount of own-label plastic placed on the UK market in 2021 actually increased, to 9,225 tonnes, made up of 789 million items.

That’s 19 more tonnes (0.2%) and 81 million more items (11.5%) than in 2019. Iceland’s branded plastic packaging in the UK increased even more: at 21,676 tonnes in 2021, or 1,106 million items, that’s 1,683 more tonnes (8.4%) and 78 million more items (7.6%) than in 2019.

In total, Iceland put 1,702 tonnes (5.8%) more plastic packaging on the UK market and 159 million (9.1%) more items.

Outside the UK, Iceland was able to cut own-label plastic from 174 tonnes to 115 tonnes (–34%).

It meant globally Iceland’s total own-label plastic production fell by 40 tonnes (–0.4%). However, including brands, its global use of plastic product packaging rose by 1,766 tonnes (5.7%) to 31,581.

Iceland plastic footprint 2021

Source: Iceland

Iceland’s 2021 plastic footprint

Iceland’s 2019 plastic footprint, the first one it published, warned the data was subject to limitations that could result in items being amalgamated, meaning the number of items would be higher than stated. The latest report says accuracy has improved.

The new report was uploaded to Iceland’s corporate website with no reference or link to it from the retailer’s consumer-facing page about its packaging progress, where the first report appeared. Following enquiries from The Grocer this has now changed. Iceland did not provide a comment.

The Grocer revealed last month that Aldi was also struggling to make all own-label packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022, with alternatives lacking for fresh meat soak pads and laminated paper.

Iceland plastic footprint 2019

Source: Iceland

The frozen food retailer’s 2019 plastic footprint

Download Iceland’s full 2021 and 2019 plastic footprint reports below.