Real is even more committed to sustainability and wants to abolish the plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable department by the end of 2020. Washable reusable nets or paper bags made from recycled paper are available as alternatives.
As a first step, customers will be offered reusable nets for transporting fruit and vegetables from the end of February 2019. Plastic bags are to gradually disappear completely from the fruit and vegetable department over the course of the year, so that by the end of 2020 customers will have a choice between washable reusable nets or free bags made of recycled paper as at a weekly market. In a test run in several Real stores in summer 2018, the reusable nets were tested for their practical suitability, explains the company. The durable reusable nets with drawstrings are made of robust polyester and are particularly practical for transport. Dirty nets can be washed at 30 degrees in the washing machine. If a net breaks, it can be recycled. The nets will be available at a price of €0.79 per net. However, during the gradual transition from plastic bags to reusable nets, customers will continue to receive free paper bags.
“By completely abandoning plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable department alone, we are saving 70 million plastic bags a year. This corresponds to more than 140 tons of plastic,” explains Patrick Müller-Sarmiento, CEO of Real. “People no longer just want to eat good food, they also want to do so with a clear conscience. As part of our corporate strategy of ‘acting responsibly’, we are therefore constantly working to offer even better and more sustainable products. Our goal is to only offer sustainable products by 2030,” says Müller-Sarmiento.
In addition to introducing reusable nets, Real – like many discounters and food manufacturers – has introduced further projects to reduce packaging waste and plastic waste. For example, customers can shop at most Real service counters for meat, sausage and cheese with reusable containers they bring with them. Customers place their open returnable containers on a special tray. Employees at the fresh food counters tare the weight of the tray and container, fill the order into the container and hand it back to the customer on the tray over the counter. Thus the customer’s container has no direct contact to the counters and the high hygienic requirements remain guaranteed. The food retailer Tegut has also introduced this system.
In the field of product packaging, Real is also working on new, resource-saving solutions. Packaging alternatives, such as grass paper trays, are used for example in organic limes and organic shrub machines. For organic ginger, organic sweet potatoes and organic mangoes, Real is now using Laser-Label (Natural Laser Labelling) to distinguish organic goods from products from conventional cultivation. For other products, Real is investigating the possibility of using alternative packaging.