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Supermarkets failing on packaging

July 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm

The Telegraph has reported that Marks & Spencer suffered a humiliating blow recently in its pledge to become the greenest retailer in Britain, when it was announced that it had come bottom of a league of supermarkets in the amount of recyclable packaging that it uses. This comes despite the £200 million ‘eco plan’ which it launched last year to put it top of such leagues, and shows that very little progress has been made.

The LGA (Local Government Association) discovered that a meagre 62% of its packaging was suitable for recycling, which put it joint bottom with Lidl, which also had a large amount of non-recyclable packaging in its average shopping basket.

In terms of packaging alone, M&S has more packaging than any other store with 807g in the average basket, compared to 746g for Sainsbury’s and 668g for Tescos. The results of the research were disputed by M&S, who said that 91% of its packaging was recyclable.

However, all of the figures remain too high, suggesting that supermarkets are still not pulling their weight in the bid to reduce waste and promote recycling. Although they constantly promote how green they are, this simply is not the case.

The report also highlighted biscuits and pizzas as some of the worst products for unnecessary packaging, whilst at the same time stating that some products, such as broccoli (which now comes without shrink wrap in some of the stores), were in fact improving,

It seems that not a lot has changed since the first survey was carried out last October. In that time period, the general amount of packaging being used has gone down slightly, but the amount of recyclable packaging has hardly changed at all. Seeing as both the government and consumers have been putting pressure on them to reduce their waste, this is a discouraging result.

Paul Bettison is the Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, and he said that: “The days of the cling film coconut must come to an end”. The advice for shoppers if they want to reduce their packaging is to shop at local markets, which are far more efficient than supermarkets in preventing waste.

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One response to “Supermarkets failing on packaging”

  1. Elaine Pugsley says:

    what ever happened to the days of paper bags. Most of the super markets seem to want to wrap everything in plastic in case someone touches it.
    Hello has anyone ever heard of washing food before you eat it !! Time for a wake up call me thinks.

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