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Video in Spanish
Mercadona, the physical supermarket and online shopping company, definitively removed all single-use plastic bags from all its stores today. The chain's more than 1,600 stores will only offer three kinds of bags to customers: paper bags, raffia baskets, and bags made of 50-70% of recycled plastic from the packaging recovered from its stores.
The latter option is the result of customers’, employees’, and suppliers’ joint commitment, as well as of their involvement in the optimisation of use of resources, as well as reduction, reuse, and recycling to extend the life of materials and prevent them from ending up in a landfill. To make these bags, the company, applying the principles of Circular Economy, reuses every year more than 3,000 tonnes of plastic from the packaging recovered from its stores, which it then sends to its logistics centres through reverse logistics, and from there to the authorised manager, Saica, which turns them into regrind, in order for the manufacturer, Plasbel, to bring it back to life in the form of shopping bags.
With this measure, which was launched in 66 stores in 2018 and has been gradually implemented in the rest of the chain, any “Boss” (as the company internally refers to its customers) who has forgotten their bag at home can now choose from among the traditional raffia bag at 50 cents, a paper bag at 10 cents, and a plastic bag made of 50% to 70% of recycled plastic, also at 10 cents. All these options are reusable and recyclable.
The company will also gradually install in all its stores a new piece of furniture for the plastic bags used by the “Bosses” in the fresh products sections, with a new dispenser system that reduces waste. The replenishment mechanisms are easier and more intuitive than the previous one, making this task easier for the section employees. These bags are also scheduled to be replaced by compostable ones by 2021. Meanwhile, in the company’s commitment to reduce its plastic consumption, the precut area to reduce the amount of plastic remaining in the support, which was discarded, has been removed.
All these initiatives reinforce Mercadona’s commitment to conducting a sustainable business. This decision led it in 2011 to become the first company in its sector to introduce initiatives to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, and, one year earlier, in 2010, to become a pioneer in the recycling of plastic, through projects such as that jointly undertaken with its Totaler supplier, SPBerner, to include a new household cleaning line (buckets, basins, broomsticks, and mops) make from plastic recovered from greenhouses.
The company has also worked since 2001 with Saica Natur, a division of the Saica Group which manages waste and offers environmental services, through its Saica Zero products, seeking to reduce the generation of waste, improve waste segregation, and reduce landfill dumping, as well as through Saica Circular, returning used materials to the market as new resources.
Mercadona paper bag and bag made of recycled materials, both of them recyclable and reusable
Process carried out by Saica Natur, which turns Mercadona's plastic into new recycled resources
One of Mercadona's commitments to society is to give back part of what it receives from it. The company's Social Responsibility Plan is developed with the purpose of serving the social and ethical component of society by means of different types of sustainable actions that reinforce its shared growth intent. As part of this policy, Mercadona is working on the Sustainable Urban Distribution Project, on the improvement of air quality in our cities by means of lorries and vans propelled by cleaner, more efficient technologies, as well as on the construction of garden roofs and vertical gardens in its stores.
Another strategic line of Mercadona's Social Responsibility Plan is environmental sustainability. To this end, Mercadona has its own Environmental Management System, focusing on logistics optimisation, energy efficiency, and waste reduction. Part of this system is based on the principles of Circular Economy, and, together with the Totaler suppliers, seeks to turn waste into new resources, such as bags.
Mercadona also works with more than 170 soup kitchens and 60 food banks and other NGOs across Spain, to which it donates food every day, and takes part in food collection campaigns. It also works with more than 28 foundations and occupational centres for the decoration of its stores with trencadís murals, prepared by more than 1,000 people with intellectual disabilities.
Since 2009, Mercadona has been a member of the European Forum of Distribution for Sustainability (REAP), and organisation co-chaired by the European in which all participants are externally audited on a regular basis regarding sustainability. It has also been a partner since 2011 of the United Nations Global Compact for the defence of fundamental values regarding Human Rights, Labour Standards, the Environment, and Corruption.
The Saica Group is the leading European Company in the manufacturing of recycled paper for corrugated cardboard, with an annual production of nearly 3.3 million tonnes of paper. It has more than 10,000 employees and a presence in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Turkey, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The Saica Group has four business divisions: manufacturing of recycled paper for corrugated cardboard (Saica Paper), recovery of recyclable materials (Saica Natur), corrugated cardboard packaging (Saica Pack) and flexible packaging (Saica Flex). The group’s consolidated turnover is 4,161 million euros (31.12.2018).