METRO Plastic Initiative

Together, we will continue the fight against plastic waste and prevent over 100 million plastic bottles from entering the oceans.

METRO Plastic Initiative kicks off its second year of a multi-year cooperation with Plastic Bank and selected international suppliers. We extend our joint impact and will prevent over 100 million plastic bottles* from entering the Oceans while improving the lives of vulnerable communities in coastal regions. Together with participating suppliers, METRO addresses millions of professional customers many countries worldwide, empowering them for sustainable business decisions.

* 100 million plastic bottles is the equivalent to 2 million kg of plastic waste stopped on its way into the oceans

The METRO Plastic Initiative Bottle Counter illustrates how many plastic bottles we could already jointly stop with Plastic Bank on their way into the oceans.

Working together to make a bigger impact

Plastic Bank

In collaboration with Plastic Bank

Our partners in reducing plastic waste

Jointly working towards minimizing the plastic footprint

At METRO we have already taken decisive steps to reduce plastic waste. Our Own Brand Technical Packaging team for example has been working since 2014 on an ambitious 3R strategy (Reduce - Reuse - Recycle) together with 18 METRO countries. Until 2023 for example critical materials such as PVC and EPS are to be eliminated. Furthermore, paper-based packaging is to come from certified sustainable forestry, unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging is eliminated, black colored ink particles are replaced, materials are exchanged, containers are redesigned and recycled plastic content is implemented.

In 2018, METRO committed to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy with an intermediate goal to save an additional 2000 tons of plastic packaging by 2023.

Many of our trusted suppliers are also tackling the use of plastic in their own operations. In line with the 17th sustainability goal of the 2030 Agenda, Partnerships for the Goals, the METRO Plastic Initiative brings together consumer goods companies that are already focused on reducing their plastic footprint. All suppliers participating in the METRO Plastic Initiative actively pursue plastic reduction strategies.

In collaboration with Plastic Bank, the METRO Plastic Initiative is jointly tackling an additional pillar, a fourth "R". Recovery aims to reintroduce discarded and environmentally harmful plastic into closed loops by collecting plastic waste before it reaches the oceans and reprocessing it for further use. Regarding the plastic pollution of oceans this pillar proves to be as important.

Plastic packaging remains indispensable in the food sector in many cases. METRO as a wholesale company, which focuses primarily on the needs of restaurateurs and traders, is aware of the tensions surrounding the issue of packaging. While on the one hand great efforts are being made to reduce packaging, on the other it guarantees quality and shelf life – and is thus essential for hygiene standards and the fight against food waste. And not least due to the COVID-19 pandemic take-out and delivery models have become enormously popular within the HoReCa-sector – leading to an increased demand for single-use packaging. METRO offers a wide range of products that enables its professional customers to switch to environmentally friendly packaging made from bagasse, for example. In addition, the wholesaler is focusing on awareness and will therefore use the METRO Plastic Initiative to provide its customers with even more information on the subject with the aim to empower customers for conscious choices and proper recycling. The latter being an important topic for METRO's professional customers because less waste means lower costs.

This way, the METRO Plastic Initiative additionally focuses on visibility of the topic in the stores, but also on the wholesaler's digital channels, offering key insights and facts about end consumer needs and demands on the one hand, while at the same time showing how HoReCa customers can respond to them.

Reduce, not Lose

The customer's opinion counts

It’s a fact that 91% of the plastic that is produced is never recycled.1 As a result, an estimated 8m tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean every year.2 If this current rate of pollution were to continue, by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish.3 And as these plastics slowly degrade, they produce microplastics which are consumed by ocean life and therefore enter our food chain. This has led many consumers to re-examine their buying behaviour, with some already deciding to no longer buy from businesses that do not support sustainable practices.

1 National Geographic, ‘Planet or Plastic?’, 2018.
2, 3 World Economic Forum ‚ ‘The New Plastics Economy - Rethinking the future of plastics’, 2016.

74% of consumers consider the environmental impact of product packaging when making purchasing decisions.

74% of consumers consider the environmental impact of product packaging when making purchasing decisions.*

This means businesses will have to adapt in order to keep their customer base. However, the switch to sustainable packaging can also help to improve business.

* Trivium, 'Global Buying Green Report', 2020

75 % of consumers would pay more for packaging that has less impact on the environment.

75% of consumers would pay more for packaging that has less impact on the environment.*

Lowering plastic waste also makes businesses more attractive to this growing group of eco-friendly customers – which could help increase revenue.

* PRO CARTON, '2nd European Consumer Packaging Perceptions Study', 2021

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