In a blaze of publicity, Britain's second (or possibly third) largest supermarket chain has announced the introduction of bio-degradable packaging for 500 of its organic food product lines click.
The new material will be made from starch and sugar derived from maize, saving thousands of tons of petroleum-based plastic.
Wonderful! Good old Sainsbury's! we cry. But wait, haven't we been here before? Those of us with longer memories will recall a similar fanfare in 2001 click .
Back then, Sainsbury's announced they would be introducing biodegradable packaging for all their own-label organic fruit and vegetables in all stores from the end of January 2001. So what happened to this project and others like the "starch based netting material for organic oranges"?
Basically, Sainsbury's had other more pressing things to think about, such as its appalling commercial performance, its slide down the pecking order of UK supermarkets and the slump in its share price. Only now, with its fortunes revived under a new management team, have they the time and resources to devote to this initiative. And of course, 5 years down the line we are all much more aware of green issues and have much greater expectations of the companies we do business with. Sainsbury's realise that they can't afford not to do this now, especially with arch-rival Tesco making big noises about issues like bio-degradable carrier bags.
Hopefully this time they'll see it through and not sweep it under the back-burner.