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French Supermarket Chain Allows Customers To Bring Their Own Reusable Containers

Carrefour, a French multinational supermarket chain which is present in over 30 countries, will be making an effort to reduce plastic waste by allowing shoppers to bring their own reusable containers from home.

"The elimination of plastic waste is a major challenge that requires a collective response," the company said in a statement.

As of last Thursday, shoppers at the 1,000 plus Carrefour stores in Spain can bring their own storage containers for fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and cold cuts. Rather than placing items in single-use plastic bags, consumers can use transparent containers with lids, as well as reusable bags for fruit and vegetables.

The company says the containers must be made of glass or plastic. Once the products have been weighed, they will be wrapped in paper, labeled and placed in the customer's container. For fruits and vegetables, shoppers can use bags or transparent meshes.

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The initiative is part of Carrefour’s Act for Food campaign, which strives to reduce plastic use in its stores. The supermarket giant has also launched a biodegradable tray for fish and seafood and reduced the overall weight of store packaging.

Carrefour has also signed an agreement with the Ministry of Ecological Transition in France to phase out plastic packaging by 2025. The treaty will allow the retailer to increase efforts in creating and implementing eco-friendly packaging alternatives.

Auchan Retail France, Biscuits Bouvard, Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone, LSDH, Nestlé France, L´Oréal, Système-U, Unilever, the Tara Foundation, and WWF France have all also signed the same agreement.

Every year, between 8 and 13 million tons of plastics are dumped into the oceans. In France, packaging represents 45% of the total amount of plastic use, and only 25% of this packaging is recycled, the Carrefour said. The company will also replace polystyrene trays in the cheese section with cardboard trays, thereby eliminating the use of 122 tons of plastic.

In addition, the retailer’s organic fair-trade bananas will no longer be packaged in plastic bags, which will save at least 25 tons of plastic each year. The retailer also hopes to completely phase out plastic wrap on cucumbers by March of 2020.

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