US packaged food company ConAgra Foods is hoping to eliminate GBP8m (US$14.8m) of plastic waste with the introduction of a new frozen meal tray.

The company said today (19 August) that it is the first company in North America to incorporate post-consumer recycled plastic in its frozen meal trays, which will divert plastic from landfills to the recycling stream.

ConAgra Foods has started using up to 40% post-consumer recycled plastic in meal trays for most of its Healthy Choice, Banquet, Kid Cuisine and Marie Callender's products.

Post-consumer recycled plastic is packaging that has been used by consumers that primarily is sent to landfills, such as plastic bottles.

"Our commitment to innovation means we are looking at all aspects of our products as we consider new ways to improve them, including finding ways to be more environmentally responsible," said Gail Tavill, ConAgra Foods vice president, sustainability.

"As a leading packaged foods company, ConAgra Foods can make a positive impact on the environment by finding new ways to reduce waste, and our new frozen meal trays will ensure that the equivalent of 128m 20-ounce plastic bottles won't go to landfills each year."

The company said it also hopes to save 236m BTUs of energy - enough to run 2,593 average American homes for one year - and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15,200 tons of CO2 per year.

The new trays are expected to appear on shelves this summer.