31 July, 2017

75 tonnes of packaging disappears into Project Thin Air

Over the past ten years, at M&S we have achieved one of our major aims, of sending no waste to landfill from our stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland. But we’re a business that never stands still, so we launched Project Thin Air to take us even further, by helping us to reduce the total waste our business produces.

As one of our packaging experts, Laura explains: “M&S has led the way in packaging reduction, and this latest project has allowed us to dramatically reduce packaging across our snacks.”

In fact, since its launch, Project Thin Air has helped M&S save over 75 tonnes of packaging. That’s the equivalent of taking 152 lorries off the road in 2017. How? By identifying more than 140 products where we can make the pocket of air in each packet smaller, without reducing the amount of food it contains.

By using thinner, stronger materials, we have been able to make packets smaller and dramatically change the way that products such as our popcorn and crisp ranges are packaged. For example, our popcorn packets are now 37% smaller, but customers are still getting the same amount of delicious popcorn they always have. We’re also using 20% less plastic in the packaging for our hand-cooked crisp range, including the best-selling Salt and Vinegar and Ready Salted flavours. 

This is all part of our Plan A strategy, that sets out our approach to environmental and social sustainability across M&S and in our supply chains. Plan A has already made a huge difference to our social and environmental performance. We’ve achieved 296 individual commitments, which has helped us save more than £750 million in costs and win more than 240 awards.

Plan A has been in place for ten years and we’re constantly updating it to reflect the changing needs of our customers, our communities and our business. So, Laura says she is already looking forward to the next stage of Project Thin Air: “We very much see this as the start of a much bigger piece of work and hope to bring equally impressive savings to other areas of the business too.”

Inside M&S