Supermarket chain Iceland has announced plans to eliminate or drastically reduce plastic packaging used in all its own-label products.

By the end of 2023, the frozen food retailer is looking to use paper-based trays to store products rather than using plastic. The move will affect more than a thousand own-label goods.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called plastic waste “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”. In the government’s 25-year environmental plan, May pledges to ban all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042.

Nigel Broadhurst, joint managing director of Iceland, said: “Take a typical Iceland prepared meal, it is currently in a black plastic tray. That black plastic is the worst possible option in terms of toxins going into the ground and the ability to recycle that product.”

The chain is aiming to complete the change in own-brand packaging within the next five years, removing plastics wherever possible. Iceland found that 80% of shoppers would endorse a supermarket’s move to go plastic free, according to company research.

Iceland has also supported plans for a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles.