This is a guest article by Brian Winters, Technical Manager at Sainsbury's

Sainsbury’s (FSC®C012003) was the first UK retailer to announce it is switching from plastic to FSC-certified paper packaging across its entire own-brand toilet paper and kitchen towel ranges. The move will save 485 tonnes of plastic, which is equivalent to over 55 million pieces of plastic a year. The change is the biggest plastics reduction the retailer has made in its grocery business so far and is a significant contribution to their target of reducing plastic packaging by 50% by 2025.

Sainsbury`s customers tell them that plastic reduction is very important to them and the customer response has been very positive.

Their own brand recycled toilet tissue and kitchen towel packaging transitioned from polyethylene to paper wrap back in 2021 and based on the response to and success of this initiative, paper wrap has now been rolled out across the rest of the own brand range. The paper packaging rolled out to all lines in February 2024 and can easily be recycled at home through kerbside recycling.

Sainsbury's packaging


Claire Hughes, Director of Product and Innovation, said:

“We sell thousands of our own brand toilet tissue and kitchen roll products every week and by switching from plastic to paper on these household staples, we’re able to make a significant impact in reducing plastic. This change alone represents the biggest plastic reduction in our grocery products so far and our customers can expect many more changes to come. Collaborating with our suppliers to develop innovative packaging solutions to reduce plastic is a major key priority for Sainsbury’s, helping us to achieve our ambitious target of increasing recycled content and recyclability.”

This builds on the success of introducing double-length toilet rolls to the own brand range in 2023 which removed 84 tonnes of plastic packaging in addition to a reduction of core card and supply chain efficiencies.

Packaging in FSC certified paper wrap also builds on the environmental credentials of Sainsbury`s own brand ranges of toilet tissue, kitchen towel and facial tissues which have been FSC certified for many years.     

The retailer's latest packaging swap is just one of the changes it has made over the past year to reduce plastic packaging. Find out more on Sainsbury's website