In a first response to a growing public backlash against the huge volumes of plastic rubbish, most of the UK’s largest supermarkets signed up to support the UK Plastics Pact – an industry-wide initiative which says it aims to transform packaging and reduce avoidable plastic waste.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose are among the 42 businesses so far supporting the new pledge, which includes an aspiration that by 2025 all plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or composted.
Julian Kirby, plastics campaigner for Friends of the Earth, welcomed the new pact as a move in the right direction. But he said: “It must be accompanied by government measures to ensure that everyone plays their part and these targets are actually met.”
He said regulations and taxes were required to discourage industry from using virgin plastic and to boost their recycling and force them to re-use material.
“Ultimately the only long-term solution is a complete phase-out of all but the most essential uses, covering all plastic-polluting sectors including clothing, cosmetics and vehicles – as well as packaging. Ministers must draw up an action plan to make this a reality.”
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Photo: Pass on the Plastic whale sculpture, highlighting the need to reduce waste and pollution. Photograph: Guy Bell/REX/Shutterstock