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Special “Make the

Special “Make the difference” reusable carrier bags (Photo: Sainsbury’s) Photo: European Plastics News Interview with Stuart Lendrum, Sainsbury‘s Photo: Sainsbury’s stands for great products at fair prices. Our objective is simple; to serve customers well. “Sainsbury‘s We continually improve and develop our product ranges, and work hard to give customers an ever improving shopping experience. We also aim to fulfil our responsibilities to the communities and environments in which we operate.” (Soruce: bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke to Stuart Lendrum, Print and Packaging Manager of Sainsbury‘s Supermarkt Ltd. bpM: Mr. Lendrum, when did you start looking into bioplastics packaging materials? When did you actually start with your first products packed in biopackaging and which were these ? Stuart Lendrum: We first launched compostable packaging in 2002, certainly we were working on it some time before that. Predominatly that would have been trays based on palm leaves. bpM: What were the main reasons for you (for Sainsbury‘s) to introduce biodegradable packaging? Stuart Lendrum: The main reason for introducing biodegradable packaging was to make customers lives easier, we have a set of packaging brand standards; and the aim of our packaging brand standards, which is something that we apply across all our products is that we want to reduce the amount of packaging we use and make that packaging we do use, either reusable, home compostable or recyclable. So obviously different products are differently made and offer different opportunities but one of the big key strands is to introduce and to use home compostable packaging. bpM: How did the introduction start and progress? Stuart Lendrum: The first step to bring such products to the market, learn about them and get customers used to them was through our SO organic produce range. We see that the opportunity for home copostable packaging is much bigger than just SO organic produce for example ready meals. Last year we also launched the world‘s first compostable easter egg holder. That is a kind of a clamshell made of Plantic material. Concerning the progress: We have a large number of organic products across, we have the easter egg and we‘re 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Photo: Sainsbury’s Special just about to pack a whole chicken on a sugarcane tray and we are still working towards introducing the ready meal packaging. We are really happy with the progress we have made so far in terms of the introduction across our organic produce area and the other things we are doing. It is very challenging bringing new materials to the market place and putting them on the shelves, but we are committed to moving forward with these materials. bpM: Last year Sainsbury‘s announced the conversion of 500 product lines or 3,550 tons respectively into biopackaging. How far are you at this point in time? Stuart Lendrum: The rollout in the ready meals category is taking longer than anticipated but we are pleased with our progress to date. bpM: What kind of biopackaging are you currently offering to your customers? Stuart Lendrum: We currently use sugarcane based materials, Natureflex – cellulose based films, Mater-Bi – starch based materials, Plantic – starch based water soluble materials and combinations of these with compostable labels. The only material that we do not use is PLA because we won‘t use any material where we can‘t guarantee that it is from non-GM sources. And we only want to offer our customers home compostable materials – PLA is not home compostable. bpM: Are you satisfied so far with the conversion to biopackaging? Stuart Lendrum: Yes. We‘ve done a lot and there‘s a lot more to do. bpM: What are your consumers responses? Do they accept it well? Do they ask for more? Stuart Lendrum: Certainly all the customer‘s feedback we get on compostable packaging is that they do like it and yes they do want more. But they want the packaging to perform as well as the existing packaging formats. That‘s the challenge for us: We know that materials do have limitations and do not always perform as per current materials and how customers would like them to. bpM: With which partners did or do you cooperate? Did or do you get a good support from them? How does such support look like? Stuart Lendrum: We cooperate with companies like Innovia, Novamont, Plantic, natura, Amcor, Telrol or Paragon Flexibles and of course our product suppliers. And yes, we do get support from all of them. We feel that everybody is motivated to try and make these developments. We do a lot of testing on products, trying to improve the performance. And it is only possible if all of us work together to make these improvements. The key thing is the commitment of the people involved. bpM: What is more important from your point of view: A) biobased packaging, i.e. made from renewable resources or B) compostable packaging ? Could you tell us why? Stuart Lendrum: The most important thing for us is to reduce the amount of packaging we use and make our packaging reusable, home compostable or recyclable. What we want to do is do all of that in a sustainable way. bpM: What future plans do you have? In short term (next 365 days) – in long term (next few years)? Stuart Lendrum: We want to continue to introduce more compostable packaging and try to move forward the quality of what we do. All within the context of making our customer‘s life easier. Both short term and long term we want to reduce the amount af packaging we use, regardless of what hat material is – that would be the absolute goal. bpM: What are you (is Sainsbury‘s) particularly proud of (in terms of this overall topic)? Stuart Lendrum: What we are particularly proud of is that we are continually improving our customer offer to make our customer‘s life easier by offering them packaging that they can compost at home as opposed to send to landfills. bpM: Thank you very much. bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 17

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