BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 24 May '18

Supermarkets are being challenged to act faster on plastic, as a new survey launches to rank their efforts

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace UK are conducting a survey of major UK grocery retailers, their use of single-use plastic packaging and their targets to reduce it.

The results, due in the autumn, are expected to reveal the volume of single-use plastic packaging each retailer puts onto the market every year, plus their targets to reduce plastic packaging and their approach to tackling plastic pollution across their supply chains.

Biggest survey of its kind

The detailed survey, which is believed to be the largest ever survey of UK grocery retailers and plastic, has been sent to the 11 largest supermarkets by market share and grocery retailers with more than 1000 stores across the UK.

The results will provide a benchmark for current commitments and actions on curbing plastic pollution.

Elena Polisano, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said the supermarkets selling masses of throwaway plastic packaging ‘should be making great strides to stop their plastic from clogging up our oceans’.

She added, ‘major grocery retailers ‘have a huge role to play in cutting the overall amount of throwaway plastic being produced, making sure non-recyclable and problem plastics are off the shelves by 2019, and switching to truly sustainable solutions. We’ve set this supermarket challenge to encourage retailers to go further, faster, to curb ocean plastic pollution.’

Retailers must ‘take a lead’

As well as collecting data about volumes of plastic and reduction targets, the survey intends to look at how retailers are planning to meet their targets, and to reveal some of the challenges faced by retailers and solutions that are being developed. The results will also highlight where further innovation is needed.

‘Single-use plastics and packaging are a major contributor to the plastic pollution that is having a devastating impact on our oceans. Retailers need to take a lead in reducing the amount that they’re putting into the market. Our survey will highlight those supermarkets who are demonstrating leadership by reducing their plastic footprint and conversely those who are lagging behind.’

SARAH BAULCH
Senior ocean campaigner, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace UK plan to carry out this survey annually to encourage improved performance on reducing, reusing and recycling plastic packaging.