UK retailer Sainsbury’s to move from plastic packaging to recyclable paperboard trays for all its own-brand mushrooms, saving over 775 tonnes of plastic/year; effort is biggest single plastics removal across Sainsbury’s groceries so far

Sample article from our Packaging Industry

January 5, 2024 (press release) –

  • Sainsbury’s is the first UK retailer to move from plastic packaging to cardboard for all its own-brand mushrooms, saving over 775 tonnes of plastic a year
  • It is the biggest single plastics removal across Sainsbury’s groceries so far
  • The new fully recyclable cardboard trays will help customers to both cut down on plastic and recycle more at home

Sainsbury’s is switching its own-brand mushroom punnets from plastic to cardboard in a move which will save over 775 tonnes of plastic, equivalent to over 52 million pieces of plastic a year. This is the retailer’s biggest ever single plastics removal in its history – equivalent to the weight of 43 full London double decker buses*.

The change will have rolled out to all 13 own-brand lines including top sellers such as whole baby button, closed cup, organic and chestnut mushrooms by the end of the month, helping customers to recycle the packaging more easily at home. Sainsbury’s will be the first UK retailer to roll out cardboard punnets for all mushrooms across all stores.

Customers can currently purchase bySainsbury’s and SO Organic mushrooms in cardboard punnets in all stores and online, and the change will affect Taste the Difference lines by the end of January.**

Claire Hughes, Director of Product and Innovation, said: “As part of our Plan for Better commitments, we are trying to reduce plastic packaging across our own brand ranges. We are delighted to introduce cardboard punnets for our own-brand mushrooms. Making a collective effort with suppliers to increasing recycled content and recyclability for all customers has helped achieve our biggest ever plastics removal so far. The initiative reflects our commitment towards a healthier and more sustainable future as we continue to look at ways to innovate our packaging and reduce and replace plastic where possible.”

The film packaging can still be recycled at one of Sainsbury’s front-of-store flexible plastics recycling points (available in all Sainsbury’s UK supermarkets).

The announcement is the latest in a string of changes made by the retailer on packaging, with its most recent biggest single plastics removal on all toilet and kitchen rolls, saving around 485 tonnes of plastic annually. The supermarket chain also removed plastic trays from its tomatoes in 2020, saving around 75 tonnes of plastic a year and asparagus in 2019, saving around 32 tonnes of plastic a year.

*Based on the average London double decker bus weighing 17.8 tonnes
**SKUs include:
bySainsbury’s closed cup mushrooms 300g - 7230677
bySainsbury’s baby button mushrooms 200g - 7576976
bySainsbury’s white closed cup mushrooms 500g - 1007633
bySainsbury’s large flat white mushrooms 250g - 19170
bySainsbury’s chestnut baby button mushrooms 200g - 8144825
bySainsbury’s closed cup chestnut mushrooms 300g - 8144836
bySainsbury’s chestnut super mushrooms 300g - 7997579
bySainsbury’s portabella mushrooms 150g - 8144838
SO Organic white closed cup mushrooms 300g - 8144838
SO Organic chestnut mushrooms 300g - 7997581
Taste the Difference speciality mushroom mix 200g - 7997651
Taste the Difference king oyster mushrooms 130g – 8152600
Taste the Difference shiitake mushrooms 120g - 799763

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Dan Rivard
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