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Marks & Spencer drops plastic wrapping in loose fruit and veg trial

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Marks & Spencer is trialling plastic-free produce at one of its stores as it tries to reduce its reliance on packaging.

The retailer says 90 lines of loose fruit and vegetables are being sold over two aisles at its Tolworth store in southwest London.

Hard fruit and vegetables like potatoes and bananas will be for sale along with more perishable items such as soft fruits and berries, which will be sold in compostable punnets.

Mushrooms are among the loose items on sale
Image:
Mushrooms are among the loose items on sale

The chain has removed sell-by dates from the products as part of the trial – and a team of greengrocers is helping customers pick and weigh items, as well as offering advice on how to preserve fresh produce and reduce food waste.

Louise Nicholls, the chain’s head of food sustainability, called the experiment “an important milestone in our plastic reduction journey”.

She added: “Our plan is to create long-term impact in the future using tangible insights from the Tolworth store trial.”

The retailer has already reduced its plastic use considerably by phasing out 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery and two million straws as it strives to remove 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging by spring 2019.

On Tuesday, M&S announced it was closing 17 more stores as it restructures its business in the face of changing consumer spending habits – triggering the loss of 1,000 jobs.

M&S will trial 90 items of loose fruit and vegetables at a London store
Image:
The struggling chain is closing 17 more store closures, putting 1,000 jobs at risk

Last year, Morrisons announced it was bringing back brown paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables, which it said would prevent 150 million small plastic bags from being used every year.

Elena Polisano, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, welcomed the M&S trial, but said more action is needed.

More from Sky Ocean Rescue

She added: “M&S must now go further and introduce plastic-free fruit and vegetable lines in all stores nationwide, and we urge other supermarkets to follow suit.”

:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

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