Single use plastic is bad, and I mean very bad. With the media covering the increasing plastic problems as well as the lack of recycling affecting our beautiful planet we have all become a bit more eco-conscious.
Throwing away plastic bags, plastic food containers or coffee cups are (hopefully) a thing of our past and we don’t actually mind taking our own reusable coffee mug to Waitrose (it is still a free drink after all).
Tesco recently announced that by the end of the year they hope to ban non-recyclable plastic packaging. This is the first supermarket retailer to action this environmentally friendly promise in such a short time period. Whilst many of us know fruit and vegetables often come in plastic packaging which may be seen as ‘protection’ of the food from germs or damage, I personally think one of the biggest problems come from the plastic bags offered to those who want to pick their own fruit or veg. A replacement of these bags may be something Tesco are looking into or even removing.
Tesco’s chief product officer, Jason Tarry, spoke to the Independent who stated that Tesco are now working with their suppliers to “redesign and reduce all packaging materials” and therefore aiming for waste to be avoided altogether. Tarry, pledged Tesco would remove all ‘hard to recycle’ plastics which include the PVC in plastic film, polystyrene and water-soluble bio plastics.
Whilst already trailing a reward scheme for customers who recycle their plastic bottles, Tesco could be the lead influencers to make a further dramatic impact on reduction of harmful plastics. Currently Iceland is in the lead in supermarket plastic reduction following their statement to eliminating single-use plastic in all their own products by 2023 although Tesco have the quickest pledge date. Game-changing supermarket Tesco, alongside rivals Sainsbury’s and Aldi, pledged the “world first” UK plastics pact earlier this year. This involves a voluntary eradication of single-use plastic packaging by 2025, with any remaining plastic being totally recyclable.
Closer to home, Newcastle’s favourite fruit and vegetable seller on Northumberland Street offers customers the chance to bring their own bags. A lot of the public have branched out on these reusables which supermarkets offer. The reusable canvas bags are a popular choice as they are strong and can hold a lot of shopping and, even better, there is no plastic involved at all. The question now is whether other supermarkets will get behind the plastic free movement
or at least limit their use. As customers we can help by bringing our own bags and remembering to use them, especially the ones that haven’t been made with non-recyclable materials.