Supermarket chain Iceland has pledged to become the first major retailer to make a commitment in doing away with all plastic packaging for all their own-brand products.
The major supermarket chain, which has 900 stores across the United Kingdom, aims to be ‘plastic-free’ within five years’ time in their bid to help end the ‘scourge’ of plastic pollution.
Iceland’s goal is to have paper and pulp-based packagings, such as trays and bags, replace all plastic-packaged products on all store-brand products. After usage, it would then be picked up for recycling via a waste collection point or one of Iceland’s in-store recycling facilities.
The decision to go plastic-free came after the company conducted a survey of 5,000 UK consumers, they learned 80 per cent would endorse their environmentally responsible plan.
In press statement Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker, stated:
The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. A truckload is entering our oceans every minute, causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival.
The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.
Initiatives have already been taken as stores have started to get rid of plastic straws attached to Iceland-brand products. In the coming months, customers should also expect to see paper-based food tray packaging.
Walker believes that due to the advances in technology:
… there really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment.
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have welcomed Iceland’s bid to go plastic-free and have praised them for stepping up as a big company, thus setting an example for rival stores to be a force for change too.
It comes amid a growing concern for the plastic pollution in our oceans, which is detrimental to all life on this planet, as David Attenborough stated at the end of Blue Planet II: ‘The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us’.
Greenpeace’s UK executive director, John Sauven, hailed Iceland’s plastic-free move as a ‘bold pledge’ and has called on ‘other retailers and food producers to respond to that challenge’.
Last week, as part of the government’s agenda, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to eradicate the need for unnecessary plastic waste within the next 25 years.
May also promised an extension on the 5p toll for plastic bags, which has proven to be a success so far. The government will explore the possibility of charging for single-use plastic containers from fast-food takeaways.
Plastic bag use has been reduced by 80 per cent since the 5p charge was introduced in 2015