Croxteth school children take part in Iceland’s ‘plastic free greengrocer’ trial
Local students from Croxteth Community Primary School in Liverpool have joined forces with Iceland Foods to trial the retailer’s plastic-free fresh fruit and vegetables initiative, and learn about the impact of plastic packaging.
The first plastic-free produce trial has launched at one of Iceland’s larger concept stores, The Food Warehouse in Gillmoss, North Liverpool, to offer customers the choice of buying loose fruit and vegetables or those offered in plastic-free packaging instead of plastic-packaged products.
Today, to support the initiative, eight students, aged between seven and nine from Croxteth Community Primary School were invited to visit the store and act as mini greengrocers for the morning.
To better educate the children about the benefits of plastic-free packaging, the pupils helped to weigh fruit and vegetables, stock the plastic-free produce sections, inform customers about the importance of choosing sustainable packaging options and even support at the till point.
The students all form part of the school’s newly elected Eco Council – a group of pupils who champion environmental causes at the school and educate their classmates on how to be more eco-conscious. The schools’s Eco Council has recently planted trees in Alt Park and visited Gillmoss Recycling and Discovery Centre.
Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland commented: “We all have a role to play in the fight against single-use plastic and I’m delighted to be involving the local community of North Liverpool in our innovative trial. The feedback we collect from our customers in this store will be used to inform future initiatives and packaging development.
“It’s so important that the next generation understands the challenge of plastic waste and how we need to work together to find alternative solutions so that they can make more sustainable choices in the future. That’s why it’s great to see the pupils from Croxteth Community Primary School getting involved in the trial and learning more about the plastic packaging issue.”
The plastic-free greengrocer trial includes 35 fruit and vegetable lines sold loose and 27 lines packed in plastic-free packaging, including paper bags with a tracing paper window, cotton and cellulose nets, and compostable punnets. With price a key barrier to purchasing loose produce, the retailer has confirmed that the prices of loose fruit and vegetables are lower than those of packed equivalents in order to encourage take-up.
Iceland has already removed plastic from certain fresh fruit and vegetable lines across its 900+ stores. This includes the introduction of a recyclable band for bananas in October 2018, which is replacing 10 million plastic bags per year. At the end of the year, lemons were switched from plastic packaging to cellulose net bags with a paper label.
This is the latest in a series of industry leading trials which have seen the retailer launch the UK’s first in-store reverse vending machines and offer alternatives to plastic carrier bags.
Since making its commitment in January 2018, Iceland has reduced or removed plastic packaging across 81 lines and removed over 1,500 tonnes of plastic in its packaging.