Waitrose is trialling the removal of plastic wrapping from multi-buy cans of vegetables as customers increasingly question the waste it produces.
The supermarket will simply sell the cans loose while continuing to apply the lower multi-buy price at the till, rather than replacing the plastic with cardboard or any other material.
The grocer said the move followed questions from customers about the single-use plastic, which cannot be recycled.
The trial in 17 shops will apply to some of the retailer’s canned vegetables.
The grocer chose its top four bestselling staples for the trial, including essential Waitrose baked beans, chopped tomatoes, plum tomatoes and sweetcorn.
If successful, the wrap – used to keep three or four cans attached for convenience – will be removed from more canned products.
Waitrose said the move would save 18 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill.
Karen Graley, packaging manager at Waitrose, said: “We know shoppers like the convenience of buying a few cans at a time as store cupboard essentials but we want to remove single-use plastic wherever we can.
“By selling the cans loose but at multi-buy prices, we’ll be able to pass the cost-saving on to customers without passing on the plastic.”
Greenpeace welcomed Waitrose’s trial of removing can packaging altogether after publishing a report last week in which it described the widespread switch from plastic to paper or cardboard by retailers and manufacturers as “problematic”.
Fiona Nicholls, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “This is another good move from Waitrose. The plastic film on multi-packs is almost always unrecyclable and is a prime example of pointless packaging.
“We’re particularly pleased Waitrose has opted to sell these products loose rather than swapping plastic for cardboard. Switching one throwaway item for another makes no sense, and amounts to chopping down forests to save the oceans.
“Other supermarkets should follow suit and ditch multi-packs without delay.”