Ahead of World Environment Day on Friday 5th June, by revamping its own label packaging range, leading convenience store group SPAR has removed nearly 300 tonnes of virgin plastic from fifty-three (53) own label products, prevented over 100 tonnes of black plastic going in landfill and adding recycling information on over 700 SPAR own label products.

Speaking on its commitment to remove as much plastic as possible from the entire SPAR own label 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.

SPAR has a number of additional environmental initiatives in place. It offers retailers a range of options for carrier bags, encompassing a re-usable bag retailing at 10p which includes recycled content. It also has a more durable £1 bag which is made from recycled plastic bottles. The convenience store group is trialling both a paper carrier bag, which retails at 25p, and a compostable bag.

By 2025 SPAR has made further commitments. It looks to eliminate single use plastic altogether from its own label range. 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 re-cycled plastic in the packaging of 53 SPAR own label 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 label 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 and as a result we are putting the OPRL (on-pack recycling logo) on all our own label packaging,” added McIlwham.

SPAR works with a number of online app companies like Too Good to Go, Gander and Ubamarket to reduce food waste and help the environment. The group also supports a number of charitable food distributors around the UK.

SPAR stores around the UK are developed using the latest technology in terms of energy efficient equipment like led lighting and energy saving refrigeration. s Selected SPAR stores provide a number of refill options including water, milk, dried goods and household products. In addition several stores are signed up as refill stations on the Water Refill app.