War on Plastic: Is The Revolution Just Beginning?
Plastic has been dominating consumer goods news the last couple of weeks. From plastic filling the sea to companies trying to cut their waste. But, what are companies actually doing to cut it out?
Plastic waste is a growing issue, getting worse with each day. Sky News reported that “By 2050 the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans could weigh more than the entire fish population”. Despite recycling becoming a part of our daily lives the past few years “Less than half of plastic bottles in the UK are recycled after use”.
Supermarkets are a huge contributor to plastic waste. The Guardian reported that “One-third of UK supermarket plastic is not easily recyclable” So, what are they doing to tackle plastic? Morrisons are bringing back brown paper bags. The Telegraph reported that “the initiative will save 150 million plastic bags every year”. Despite small inconveniences: paper bags being slightly heavier and thicker, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Other supermarkets are following suit in similar ways.
ASDA have stated they’ll be cutting out 10% of the plastic in their own brand packaging along with Iceland stating that they’ll be taking steps to reduce/eliminate the plastic packaging of all their own-label products by the end of 2023. Iceland will be “using a paper-based tray, rather than plastic” on new ranges. Tesco are also stepping up to the plate: They announced that they will ban all non-recyclable plastic by 2019! Most of the major supermarkets have pledged to reduce plastic waste or to eradicate in some areas altogether.
It’s not just supermarkets who are making changes, the likes of McDonald’s and Starbucks are playing their part too. McDonald’s are phasing out their plastic straws in Austrailia and are currently trialing paper straws as an alternative. If this proves successful there’s little doubt that McDonald’s will start implementing this across the world, including the UK. Starbuck’s are taking this one step further, by phasing out single-use plastic straws in all of their stores by 2020. They’re also trialing a 5p charge on paper cups in the UK, encouraging people to bring in a reusable cup. They already offer an incentive for those who bring in a reusable cup (25p off your drink).
I’m sure we all saw Walkers crisp packets all over the news recently and, even though the campaign didn’t exactly go to plan, it did clog up Royal Mail’s post boxes and was enough for Walkers to pledge to go plastic-less by 2025! Should it have taken such a stunt to be the catalyst for change? Maybe not, but at least we’re moving in the right direction.
Start-ups are also playing their part in tackling plastic waste. The awesome CanO Water are replacing plastic with aluminium, stating that it’s ‘70% recyclable’ compared to plastic which is a very underwhelming 3%. Approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year, so looking at alternatives like aluminium could be a more permanent solution to plastic waste.
Plastic waste is also affecting our oceans severely: “100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.” A lack of recycling is having a huge effect on plastic waste, with ‘most families throwing away about 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled.’
One thing’s for sure, the war on plastic has well and truly begun!
Are these initiatives too little too late? Or are they just what we need to tackle the war on plastic?
Let us know, we’d love to hear from you! Be sure to check out our blog on the future of retail here.