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Sainsbury's Targets Tinned Tomatoes in War on Packaging

<p>U.K. supermarket giant Sainsbury's will replace tomato tins with cartons in an effort to cut packaging and emissions.<br /> &nbsp;</p>

Sainsbury's has this week announced that its Basics Chopped Tomatoes will be sold in cartons rather than cans from now on, slashing waste packaging by 500,000 kilos per year.

The supermarket giant said the switch would help meet its target of reducing packaging by a third by 2015, adding that it would also serve to cut its carbon footprint by 156 tonnes per year through reduced supply chain emissions.

Stuart Lendrum, Sainsbury's head of packaging, said cartons could replace tins more widely in coming years as supermarkets respond to customer demand for less packaging waste.

"Packaging Basics Chopped Tomatoes this way will make life easier for customers as they will take up less space in cupboards, while at the same time, the environmental impact of those tomatoes will be a lot lower," he said. "Also, as they can be packed more tightly, more will fit onto a lorry meaning fewer journeys are required to move them around the country."

The move to cut packaging for Basics tinned chopped tomatoes, which represent the highest selling non-fresh item in Sainsbury's stores, is part of a wider program to reduce packaging across the company's Basics range.

The company said that Basics egg boxes had been re-designed to reduce packaging by 9.4 percent, saving 18.5 tonnes of packaging per year, while Basics chilled ready meals had seen the size of their outer sleeves reduced to lower packaging by 34 percent or 33 tones per year.

However, the move has not secured universal praise, with the Metal Packaging Manufacturers' Association warning in a statement that the move to cartons packaging could inadvertently lead to more waste being sent to landfill.

"Cans have the highest recycling rate of any packaging material in Europe," it said. "In the U.K., two-thirds of food cans avoid landfill completely and are recycled. What's more, metal is infinitely recyclable – it can be reused again and again with no loss of quality."

However, around two-thirds of councils now recycle food cartons and recycling capacity is expected to increase further in the coming years.

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