Waitrose has pledged to stop using black plastic packaging by the end of 2019. The retailer’s investment in alternatives to plastic continues with two of its Italian ready meal range to be trialled in what it describes as ‘cutting-edge’ widely recyclable packaging from late May.

The supermarket’s Macaroni Cheese and Spaghetti Bolognese lines will be in a fibre based tray with a purpose made coating.

The tray is made of wood which is Forest Stewardship Council certified, and the cream coloured tray will replace the normal black plastic.

Waitrose has partnered with packaging and ready meal specialists, working together to create an alternative solution to plastic for these products.

Karen Graley, packaging manager at Waitrose, says: “We’re dedicated to reducing and simplifying the plastics used across our business and we have committed that all our packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025.

“Black plastic remains tough to recycle and we’re happy to be working with our suppliers to develop this exciting alternative for our ready meals.’’

Currently, much of the black plastic packaging used by supermarkets for food such as ready meals is not recycled, as lasers used by waste processors cannot recognise the colour effectively.

Waitrose’s new packaging uses the latest technology so it can still be heated in the oven and microwave.

Graley adds: “If successful we aim to roll out further, this will make a significant difference in reducing our use of black plastic.’’

Other Waitrose actions to tackle plastic include removing all takeaway disposable coffee cups from its shops by autumn 2018.

Waitrose will also stop selling packs of disposable plastic straws from September 2018. Its cafes are currently switching plastic straws to paper.