• Chris Sherwin

Green Game-Changing in Supermarket Plastic Waste

Few campaigning tactics capture media attention more than a league table, so Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency’s ‘Checking Out on Plastic’ report sure hit the spot last week. It’s a fantastic expose of UK supermarket’s single-use plastic packaging use and progress; do have a look.

Perhaps the most eye-catching statistic is the 1 billion reusable ‘bags for life’ consumed last year, part of an overall increase in UK supermarket’s plastic packaging use. A worrying and counter-intuitive trend.

Yet hidden amongst the plastic bag controversy are a number of not-to-be-missed recommendations. To really tackle plastic waste the report suggests we focus on, amongst other things, the following four strategies:

  1. Reduction: achieved principally through removal of plastic packaging rather than lightweighting. Reductions should be made as part of an overall packaging reduction drive, rather than through substitution with single-use packaging made from other materials

  2. Elimination: Commit to urgently eliminate all non-recyclable plastic packaging from own brand ranges by end of 2019

  3. Reuse and Refill: Significantly expand refillable and reusable packaging options

  4. Beware of substitution: Adopt a precautionary approach to non-conventional plastics (biodegradable, compostable, etc) and fully assess the sustainability issues associated with them

How does this chime with today’s dominant strategies led by recycling and the material substitution?

Sustainable packaging and tackling plastic waste are a Green Game-Changing agenda that needs more disruptive and radical innovation in pack, product and business models.

Thanks Greenpeace/EIA for reminding us.


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