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Supermarkets crackdown on single-use plastics

Supermarkets crackdown on single-use plastics

Monday 28 September 2020

Supermarkets crackdown on single-use plastics

Monday 28 September 2020


Iceland has published its "horrific" plastic footprint, in an attempt to encourage other retailers in the Channel Islands and across the UK to follow suit, and cut down on plastic waste.

Throughout all of its stores - four of which are in Guernsey - the supermarket wasted around 32,000 tonnes of plastic in 2019.

Managing Director of Iceland, Richard Walker, described the figure as "horrific" and called for every business to release their plastic footprint.

"As we say in business: 'you can't manage what you can't measure'," he said. "It's time to be honest."

 While other local shops haven't followed Iceland's example yet, many are taking significant steps to reduce their plastic usage and give back to the local environment.

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Pictured: Iceland has four stores in Guernsey.

In line with its stores in the UK, the Channel Islands Co-operative Society has cut down on single-use plastics by making all of its own-brand teabags plastic free, scrapping the polystyrene in its pizza boxes and changing plastic stems on its cotton buds to paper. In 2017, the local stores made a pledge to ensure all packaging was easy to recycle - now almost three quarters can be widely recycled.

"As well as offering all these great initiatives to our customers thanks to changes the UK have made, we are also doing lots locally to reduce the amount of plastic leaving our stores," explained CEO of the society, Mark Cox. "As a local retailer we have a duty to our customers to look at ways we can be more responsible and we take the impact we have on our local environment seriously.

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Pictured: The Co-operative has numerous Grande Marché, Locale and En Route stores across the island.

"Last year we started trialling unwrapped veg in our Grand Marché stores. We focused on local produce and saw a spike in the sales of our unwrapped produce at the end of 2019. Unfortunately this has levelled out again now, which we believe maybe due to Covid-19 and our customers feeling safer buying wrapped produce, but we will review this and hope to see another spike in a few months.

"We have also increased the price of our Bag for Life from 10p per bag to 15p per bag. This change was made ahead of the new legislation coming into force in Jersey next year, when single-use bags will be banned. We have not yet seen a decline in the amount of bags being purchased but are working hard to encourage our customers to reuse their bags and buy less. We have also introduced reusable bag bins in to our Grand Marché stores, which encourage our customers to pick up a preloved bag rather than buying new."

Meanwhile Waitrose, which has two stores in Guernsey, has committed to making its own-brand packaging reusable, widely recyclable or home compostable by 2023.

Waitrose admiral park

Pictured: Waitrose has two stores in Guernsey.

It has also pledged to reduce the amount of own-brand packaging by a third in the next two years, remove 20% of plastic from own-brand ranges by the end of next year, and phase out non-recyclable plastic from all branded and own-branded packaging by 2021.

The supermarket recently stopped using multi-buy shrink-wrap on millions of its own-label tinned grocery products in an attempt to cut down on plastic.

"Our essential Waitrose tinned food has been selling in record numbers since March and we want to ensure that we can continue to give customers the best quality and value, without passing on the plastic on such popular products," said Canned Food Buyer for Waitrose, Claire Mitchell.

"Our customers expect us to keep tackling plastic, which includes eliminating single use shrink-wrap on our multi-buys. This is a significant step towards our plan to phase out non-recyclable plastic from all our packaging by 2021."

To read Iceland's plastic report in full, click HERE.

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