A new environmentally friendly form of packaging - which puts tomato plants to good use - is on supermarket shelves this week.
Waitrose is experimenting with a new form of non-plastic punnet which uses tomato leaves to help package tomatoes.
The packaging is created in a complex process using the latest technology, that joins together dried tomato leaf and recycled cardboard pulp.
The new style punnets will be used for Waitrose Duchy Organic cherry tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes in selected branches. If the trial is successful, the non-plastic punnet for these products will be rolled out to further branches in 2018 and could potentially save 3.5 million plastic trays a year.
Nicola Waller, Head of Fresh Produce at Waitrose, said:
‘‘We are determined to reduce our use of plastic across our business.
‘‘This builds on our commitment to ensure that all our own-label packaging is widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable or home compostable by 2025.
‘‘Since 2009 we’ve reduced overall packaging across all products by nearly 50 per cent and are excited about this imaginative way to present our Duchy Organic tomatoes to our customers.’’
Other recent Waitrose packaging innovations include the boxes for Waitrose Red Lentil Pasta and Waitrose Green Pea Pasta which are partly made from pulses. This reduces the use of virgin tree pulp by 15 per cent and lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent. The box for Waitrose Duchy Organic eggs is made from a mixture of rye grass and recycled paper, saving 77 tonnes of wood and paper per year and using 60 per cent less water to produce.