Major retailers sign UK Plastics Pact

Some of the UK’s largest supermarkets have signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, a new voluntary initiative to slash plastic waste.

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose and Tesco have all signed up to the new industry-wide initiative that aims to make all plastic packaging recyclable, recycled or biodegradable by 2025.

Despite some haling the progress, many have criticised the pact for not going far enough and failing to enforce change from the retail industry. 

Some went on to highlight that wording within the pledge, which aims to remove all “problematic and unnecessary” single use plastics, could be interpreted in many ways and fail to make a difference.  

In light of this, the government is considering changing legislation regarding how retailers contribute to the recycling and collection of their plastic waste.

Retailers in the UK pay less than any European country towards the handling of their waste, with 90 per cent of the bill being paid by the taxpayer.

Earlier this week documents acquired under freedom of information laws revealed that many supermarkets had been heavily lobbying the government against increasing these costs.

However, the government is expected to announce changes to this system, known as the PRN scheme, in its waste and recycling strategy this summer.

“Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together,” environment secretary Michael Gove said.

“Industry action can prevent excess plastic reaching our supermarket shelves in the first place. I am delighted to see so many businesses sign up to this pact and I hope others will soon follow suit.”

Wrap’s chief executive Marcus Gover added: “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rethink and reshape the future of plastic so that we retain its value, and curtail the damage plastic waste wreaks on our planet.

“This requires a whole scale transformation of the plastics system and can only be achieved by bringing together all links in the chain under a shared commitment to act.”

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