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Waitrose on top for plastic reduction

Thu 28 Jan 2021 | 04:48 pm GMT
Michelle Urquhart | Products of Change Writer

Waitrose is introducing refill stations at more of its supermarkets

Waitrose has reduced its absolute use of plastics by 6.1% from 2017, ranking it first in new report into supermarket single-use plastics from Greenpeace and the EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency). For the second consecutive year, Waitrose is at the top of the league table. Waitrose was able to achieve a reduction in plastic use across both its own-brand and branded ranges, supplemented by robust engagement with its branded suppliers. Waitrose reported an absolute plastic reduction of 6.1% since 2017 and has the lowest plastic use per unit market share of all 10 retailers. Its efforts to reduce plastic are coupled with a commitment to expand reuse and unpackaged ranges and concerted efforts to remove single-use plastic products from its stores and cafes. James Bailey, Waitrose executive director, said: “We are pleased that Greenpeace’s league table has recognised our efforts to decrease our plastic packaging and pioneer unpacked shopping, but we realise there’s more to do. We know this remains as important to our customers as it does to us so we have continued to explore ways we can do more." The biggest mover from the previous survey is Aldi, which went from bottom to second place this year. Aldi demonstrated a 2.4% plastic reduction per unit of market share between 2018 and 2019. Other areas where Aldi scored well included its elimination of single-use carrier bags and reductions in ultra-light produce bags and ‘bags for life’. These reductions sit alongside an increased level of ambition for the future with a pledge to cut plastic use in half by 2025 and a high degree of transparency in the information they provided. The report states: “Supermarkets in the UK have responded to the plastic pollution crisis in a number of ways. All top 10 UK supermarkets have targets to reduce their plastic packaging footprint; however, several are limited to own-brand goods and there are few specific targets for reusable packaging. With bags and food wrappers being among the most common items found polluting the oceans and entangling animals, plastic-free and reusable packaging solutions are urgently required to prevent these problems at source.” Download the Checking Out on Plastics III report here
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