The retailer has worked with plastic recycling plant Closed Loop Recycling and packaging supplier Reynolds to supply it with food-grade recycled plastic.
M&S’ salad boxes are the final step in a project to create a closed-loop for plastic food packaging in the UK, in which used bottles are recycled into new food containers.
Speaking to MRW Closed Loop Recycling managing director Chris Dow said: “This is very exciting and it is an end of a five-year crusade. The material on the shelf is now made from recycled PET. This is not just a victory for Closed Loop but for Britain and all of the recycling industry. “
He added that this was the next step in an evolution towards having a number of outlets for these materials and other companies will emulate Closed Loop to work “towards what we are doing”.
The Closed Loop Recycling plant based in Dagenham, Essex, will also be working with supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s. It will be supplying food-grade recycled plastic to Coca-Cola and Solo Cup Europe, which makes cups for companies including Starbucks and Pret A Manger.
Dow said that the next step for Closed Loop was to focus on increasing recycled content in products to make sure it was at the same levels as virgin content.
He added: “The UK is working towards an environmentally friendly community. We are heading towards a recycling revolution in the UK with a sizeable shift in carbon footprint packaging.
Using 50 per cent recycled PET in packaging reduces carbon footprint by 25 per cent, which is a great step forward.”
M&S has also announced that it has signed a three-year waste contract with waste management firms Severnside Recycling and Shanks Waste Management.
The retailer believes that the contract will help it move “further towards our key Plan A environmental commitment to send zero waste to landfill by 2012”.
Severnside will provide the management systems for dealing with all stores and distribution centre generated waste streams. Any residual waste, mainly food waste, will be processed through a network of landfill diversion technologies, such as anaerobic digestion facilities being developed by Shanks.