Waitrose Sustainable Packaging – Color is the new black

Waitrose & Partners is launching colored packaging made from recycled plastic for its private brand ready meals.

The new trays, made predominantly from mixed colored PET bottles and trays, means the packaging may be a different color every time it is produced, depending on what is being recycled.

From pink and red tones to shades of green and blue, the new packaging is unlikely to be the same twice, meaning customers could buy their ready meal in a different color tray every time they shop.

The ‘multi-colored swap’ allows Waitrose to ensure that its trays are more widely recyclable while it continues to replace single-use plastic. The retailer recently launched the world’s first home compostable packaging for its private brand Italian ready meals replacing black plastic with a fiber-based tray.

This packaging innovation, produced for Waitrose by Faerch, will see even more ready meals taken out of hard-to-recycle black plastic, saving a further 500 tons of black plastic going to landfill.

Waitrose has already eliminated black plastic on its fresh meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg;  and this new packaging helps Waitrose move closer to removing all black plastic by the end of the year.

The majority of black plastic packaging is colored using carbon black pigments which do not enable the pack to be easily sorted by the systems widely used in plastics recycling. As a result, black plastic packaging can commonly end up as residue and disposed of in a landfill.

Karen Graley, Packaging Manager, Waitrose & Partners, says: “This is an exciting example of packaging innovation that helps us move even more ready meals out of hard-to-recycle black plastic into a rainbow of recycled content that can be recycled again and again.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.