It includes all branded and Sainsbury’s brand food packaging as well as packaging across all of the supermarket’s operations.
To ensure a reduction in its almost 120,000 tonnes of plastic packaging consumption every year, Sainsbury’s will launch a programme that will include switching to alternative materials, using lighter weight plastics and introducing refillable packaging at scale.
The key areas of focus “for biggest impact” will be plastic milk bottles, packaging for fruit and vegetables, fizzy drinks, water and fruit juices.
The supermarket will collaborate with food manufacturers, packaging suppliers, raw material scientists and other retailers, alongside the waste and recycling industry.
Customers, colleagues, manufacturers and entrepreneurs are also being invited to submit ideas on its website to help reduce plastic packaging.
Sainsbury’s said it will work with environmental group Greenpeace on its commitment and report publicly on its progress every six months.
Mike Coupe, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s added: “We have set ourselves a bold ambition because we understand that we urgently need to reduce our impact on the planet and to help drive change across our industry.
“Reducing plastic and packaging is not easy. Packaging plays a vital role in keeping our food safe and fresh and minimising food waste. We must therefore find alternatives to plastic that protect the quality of our food while minimising our impact on the environment.
“We can’t do this on our own and we will be asking our suppliers and our customers to work with us to help us make this important change.”
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers welcomed the commitment, adding: “I commend the leadership shown by Sainsbury’s and their efforts to introduce new industry-wide standards and reporting, ensuring that our environment is protected for future generations.
“This is a brilliant example of the integral role business has to play in cutting plastic waste, empowering consumers to make more sustainable choices.”