Supermarkets get serious about the plastic problem

Supermarkets get serious about the plastic problem

At Amberol, our work in partnership with businesses and councils across the UK, supplying our range of indoor and outdoor recycling bins to encourage recycling on the go means we are always pleased to hear about new initiatives aimed at reducing plastic waste. 

When major UK supermarkets and food companies signed up to the Plastic Pledge earlier this year, there were worries from some quarters that due to the voluntary nature of the pledge, nothing much would change. However, the good news is that supermarkets are taking their responsibilities seriously and a raft of new announcements means that real inroads are now being made in the war against plastic. 

The end of the 5p plastic bag 

The 5p plastic bag charge brought with it a sea change in shopper habits, with 9 out of 10 people adopting the habit of bringing their own bags to the supermarket in the year after the charge was introduced in England in 2015. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have all stopped selling 5p plastic carrier bags in a move that will make a real difference to the amount of plastic waste generated by UK supermarkets. Asda is on track with its pledge to phase out 5p bags by the end of 2018. Waitrose have also pledged to withdraw these bags by March 2019 in a move that will save 134 million bags a year equating to 500 tonnes of plastic. In a different approach and after a successful trial in Greater Manchester, Co-Op will be introducing compostable 5p carrier bags in 1,400 of its 2,500 stores in order to eliminate the use of 60 million plastic carrier bags each year. 

Tackling black plastic 

Black plastic, typically used in products like microwaveable ready meals and pre-packaged fresh food is not recyclable in the UK as the sorting machines that recognise plastic cannot detect it. In a bid to reduce the vast amount of waste this causes, Lidl are building on their pledge of removing all black plastic packaging from their own brand fruit and veg by the end of September 2018 by promising to also remove it from all their own brand meat, poultry and fish by August 2019. Asda have already removed black plastic from all their own brand products in an effort to make them easier to recycle. 

Plastic and loose fruit and veg 

This summer Morrisons took the much-needed step of replacing rolls of small clear plastic bags to pack loose fruit and vegetables in with paper bags. Paper bags were originally used for this purpose but were phased out in favour of see-through plastic. Morrisons’ new bags have a see-through paper strip meaning that staff and customers can still see the contents of the bag. In a similar move, Waitrose has announced it will replace clear plastic bags for loose fruit and veg with a home-compostable alternative by spring 2019. 

What else is being done? 

Morrisons are encouraging customers to bring their own reusable containers to their fresh meat and fish counters and are offering 100 loyalty card points as an incentive for doing so. Asda’s innovations include replacing plastic straws with paper ones in their cafes and switching from plastic to paper wrapping on the Asda Magazine. Also, the company estimate that replacing plastic pizza boards with cardboard versions will save 194 tonnes of plastic a year, which equates to 16 London buses! 

Making a difference every day 

Amberol’s versatile range of recycling bins for both indoor and outdoor use are designed to recycle mixed glass, plastic bottles, paper and cans on the go. To find out more please email sales@amberol.co.uk or call 017773 830930. 

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