This week, Marks and Spencer became the first retailer in the UK to use a new environmentally friendly packaging material ­ made 50% from chalk.
The material, which will be used in all its butter wraps, was developed by Ecolean, originally part of Tetra-Pak and now owned by Hans Rausing, the UK's second richest man.
Tipped as the successor to polypropylene and polyethylene wraps, the material, also called Ecolean, is not classified as plastic and is therefore much cheaper to dispose of. Degradeable, it uses just half the oil polymer and half the energy to manufacture as normal packaging materials.
Barry Twigg, chief executive of National Flexible, Ecolean's sole agent in the UK, said that the material could also be used for packaging bakery products, snack foods, confectionery, and ready meals

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