Since 2017 the Environmental Agency Investigation and Greenpeace have been tracking the progress of 10 major UK supermarkets on their plastic packaging practices. In their third progress report, they found that combined, these retailers placed 896,853 tonnes of plastic packaging on the market in 2019.
While some have reduced their overall plastic packaging footprint, with Waitrose leading for a second consecutive year, supermarkets are currently limited to their own-branded goods. It is thus important that major brands also continue to make progress on their plastic packaging targets. Many have already made commitments to the New Plastics Economy, but the latest report reveals that progress varies considerably when it comes to the use of recycled plastic content.
Although this new report encourages supermarkets to set targets for increasing recycled content, it is currently unclear how far they have come in achieving those. Similarly, the use of recycled plastic content is missing from their recommendations, which are heavily focused around reusables.
The reality is that in some cases, plastic packaging remains the most suitable material. In addition to an overall reduction and the elimination of non-recyclable packaging, we would also like to see more brands and retailers ramp up their use of recycled plastic content.
With the Plastic Packaging Tax being rolled out across the United Kingdom in April 2022, there is little time to waste.
Checking out on Plastics III – Full Report