Protecting our planet: M&S packaging trio named Team of the Year

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02 November 2018

We've seen plastic waste dominate the headlines this year and at M&S, we're doing everything we can to reduce the amount of plastic we use. With 320 million tonnes of plastic produced each year globally, yet only 9% getting recycled, it's been predicted that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea than fish. We think packaging should only be used as a last resort and that's why, our goal is to remove over 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from our business over the next 10 months.

Last week, we were delighted to pick up an award for our efforts in reducing plastic packaging at the UK Packaging Awards. Our fantastic M&S Food Packaging team, Sarah Leveridge, Kevin Vyse, Laura Fernandez and Kenneth Wong, were crowned the winners of the Development Team of the Year award - recognising the team as one of the most experienced and influential in the food industry.

At M&S we’re rethinking our packaging – taking plastic out, replacing it with eco-friendly alternatives and making sure that any we do use can be easily recycled. We were the first retailer to announce that 100% of our packaging will be widely recycled by 2022 and we've been leading the way in innovative solutions to cut out black plastic in many of our products

We're also replacing the 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in our stores every year with FSC certified wood alternatives, as well as swapping out the 2 million straws used in M&S Cafés with paper versions.

We know that collaboration between the government, organisations and businesses will help us go further and faster. We're part of the UK Plastics Pact and recently signed the New Plastics Economy's Global Commitment to reduce plastic waste and pollution by 2025. One of the biggest challenges we face is shifting consumer behavior towards recycling. Working with Hubbub and other brands, we've launched a flagship initiative in Leeds with customer engagement at the core. The programme, #LeedsbyExample, aims to understand why only 2% of food-to-go packaging is recycled.

Led by our Food Managing Director Stuart Machin, every member of our team plays an active role in bringing M&S's Five Plastic Principles to life - Refuse, Redesign, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - to help M&S reach its plastic reduction targets. These values are enabling a step change in packaging innovations across our product ranges and there has never been a more exciting time to be part of our team!

Read more about our Plastics Plan here

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