Plastic Pollution and What’s Being Done to Remedy this Scourge
Leading retailer Tesco Supermarkets has confirmed that it intends to remove plastic from a wide range of in-house products. The popular chain store estimates this will result in an environmental saving of more than a billion items of plastic by the end of 2020.
Tesco Action Plan to Reduce Plastic Pollution
Tesco is u turning on loose fruit bags, plastic ready-meal trays, yoghurt pot lids, and straws in its strategic thinking. This is all in a major drive to cut out non-recyclable packaging. More than one-billion items of plastic will disappear from its shelves by the end of next year, this from its no-name label products.
The reason for the rethink is down to the supermarket chain’s realization that as much as 15 percent of its own brand product packaging is not recyclable. Now identified, offending stock items will undergo packaging face-lifts using plastic materials more suitable for recycling. Moreover, the giant retailer has pledged to ban chain brands with too much non-recyclable packaging from 2020.
Tesco plans to remove secondary plastic lids used on certain dairy products and cereal packaging. Other items under the spotlight include plastic utensils currently supplied with their popular snack pots. Clear plastic wrapping used in presenting clothing and even birthday cards will disappear too. Other stock items facing production-line revamps include eliminating plastic trays on ready meal products, replacing them with recycled board.
Out With Plastic, In With Paper
Plastic straws are now officially undesirable in the food sector. Nobody wants to use them because they are single use and non-recyclable. Paper replacements are in vogue, but retailers and food outlets are doing their homework to ensure that the replacement straws meet recycling requirements.
This follows the faux pas from a well-known burger outlet that found replacement paper straws were as bad as the plastic version in environmental terms. Paper bags will soon replace small plastic bags presently used for packing fresh fruit and vegetables, and bakery items purchased.
Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis had this to say on the mega-retailers change of direction with regard to biodegradable packaging, “By focusing on solutions that we can apply across all our UK stores and supply chain, we can make a significant difference and achieve real scale in our efforts to tackle plastic.”
Last year, Lewis urged the government to develop an effective national recycling infrastructure to replace ineffective systems currently in place, and operated at local council level.
All Retailers Must Play Their Part
It is not just Tesco introducing new ideas to bolster recycling. All supermarket chains are shifting up a gear amid a growing public backlash against ineffective disposal of plastic packaging. We have BBC’s Blue Planet II documentary to thank for creating awareness when the problem of ocean litter came under the spotlight.
Major grocers generate some 800,000 tons of plastic packaging waste each year and have faced a huge outcry from the public for the mess they have unleashed in the environment.
Head of Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastic campaign, Louise Edge confirmed Tesco was “absolutely doing the right thing”. However, she also drew attention to estimates that indicated Tesco released close to 20-billion pieces of plastic last year. “So they’ve still got plenty of work to do, but this is a good start and we hope to see further reductions when it introduces its reusable packaging scheme for online orders in the New Year,” she added.
We are pleased you found your way to this Blog and we invite you to read more articles while you are here. Public opinion is rapidly gathering momentum in the recycling debate, and is proving a powerful force as our country combats the scourge of plastic pollution.