Iceland has pledged to swap plastic packaging across its own-label bakery lines for paper-based material.

The retailer today (16 January) announced it would eliminate all plastic packaging from its own-brand products by the end of 2023.

In the case of bakery products, Iceland said it would mainly be exploring paper-based solutions, and would look to use a paper-compatible material such as cellulose in place of plastic for products where shoppers needed to see what they were buying.

The retailer added it would harness the latest technologies to create a range of packaging comprising paper and pulp trays, along with paper bags, which are recyclable  through  domestic  waste collection or in-store recycling facilities.

Iceland has become the first major retailer to make a commitment to go plastic-free since Theresa May launched the ‘25 Year Environment Plan’, calling for plastic-free supermarket aisles to be rolled out in the next 25 years.

The retailer has already taken its first steps to plastic-free packaging, revealing that its new food ranges for 2018 will feature paper-based rather than plastic food trays.

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said the onus was on retailers to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.

Other supermarkets, and the retail industry as a whole, should follow suit and offer similar commitments during 2018. This is a time for collaboration,” said Walker.

“There really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment. The technologies and practicalities to create less environmentally harmful alternatives exist, so Iceland is putting a stake in the ground.”

Iceland said it would provide regular updates on key milestones during the next five years as it transitions to plastic-free packaging.