Sainsbury’s has avoided being taken to court for using excessive packaging after voluntary reducing the amount of waste.

The case would have been the first against a major retailer. It arose after a member of the public complained about Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference beef roasting joint, which had been packaged in plastic shrink wrap, placed inside a plastic tray, covered with a plastic lid and then surrounded with a cardboard sleeve.

A member of the public had complained to trading standards officers in Lincolnshire, which then initiated a prosecution.

Sainsbury’s subsequently reduced this packaging by 53%, and now the council has dropped plans to go ahead with the case, according to the Daily Mail.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told the newspaper: “We are pleased that the council has withdrawn this case, which we don’t believe was ever in the public interest.”

Five cases have been brought under the legislation aimed at cutting wasteful and unnecessary packaging, and all were against very small companies.