Marks and Spencer is introducing packaging for its Swiss chocolate range that can either dissolve or be put on the compost heap.

The tray is made out of Plantic, a corn starch-based product that breaks down when it becomes moist.

Once outside, the Plantic tray will take around three weeks to totally breakdown, the UK retailer said. It can also be put under water, where it will dissolve in a matter of minutes.

Helene Roberts, head of packaging at M&S, said: “This is a fantastic step forwards for food packaging – we know our customers really want to be responsible and using Plantic means that they can enjoy a delicious box of chocolates without the worry of what to do with the leftover tray.”

The retailer trialled Plantic in 2007 and, after customer feedback, it has now decided to use the material for its entire range of Swiss chocolates.