General Article Supermarkets putting more plastic on their shelves than ever

Topic Selected: Waste and Recycling Book Volume: 385

Public concern about plastic pollution is at a high, but new research shows that the plastic footprint of the top 10 UK supermarkets has actually increased over the past year. Here’s the breakdown.

By Anthony Lewis

The past few years have been a turning point for our oceans. Viral footage of beached whales with plastic in their stomachs, turtles with straws jammed up their noses, and crabs stuck in plastic cups have travelled the world. 

We’re all waking up to the damage plastic is having on our environment. As a result, a wave of public outrage led to a host of commitments and pledges from supermarkets to reduce plastic. 

But how much was actually done? Greenpeace UK and the Environmental Investigation Agency investigated their commitments, and how their promises on plastic measured up to actual achievements.

The results are shocking. Supermarkets now put over 900,000 tonnes of plastic packaging on their shelves a year. Like most plastic, it finds its way into our oceans or goes in...

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