According to this Greenpeace report, UK supermarkets could be able to eliminate up to 50% of their plastic packaging within the next 5 years by heavily focusing on a mere 54 key categories.
Moreover, a 35% reduction can be achieved by focusing purely on the 13 biggest offending categories, according to the report. These 13 categories are as follows:
- Fizzy drinks
- Bottled water
- Still drinks & fruit juices
- Household cleaning products
- Detergents and softeners
- Sports and energy drinks
- Dilatable drinks
- Bath and shower products
Greenpeace offered a myriad of suggestions on how to tackle each of these categories such as refill stations and / or ˜dispensing fountains' for fizzy drinks, vending machines that will refill milk or a return to doorstop deliveries. A slightly less achievable reality in my opinion is their approach to bottled water which was to just stop selling them. According to Greenpeace, Ocado stopped selling bottled water amidst lockdown to free-up delivery capacity and therefore according to Greenpeace then means that it will be a viable option for every supermarket in the UK. As you may have guessed by my tone, I don't quite share their sentiment that this would work / be viable! Bottled water is an incredibly convenient item to have stocked in stores, which by how much money the major companies make, is demonstrated very easily. I do not believe the bottled water companies, nor the consumer would EVER be okay with the total elimination of bottled water products, so I do believe this idea to be a localised success and not a viable option for grandiose supermarkets.
Right now, society treats packaging as something disposable “ something that can be used once then tossed away. This mindset has led to the plastic pollution crisis.....- GREENPEACE UK
Greenpeace wants to make a larger step towards reusable packaging as well, saying. Right now, society treats packaging as something disposable “ something that can be used once then tossed away. This mindset has led to the plastic pollution crisis, and moving back to refillable, reusable packaging is the best way to turn things around. Greenpeace follow this up by saying. Doing this will take a massive system change. The good news is research shows that reusable packaging can actually make money. As Greenpeace notes in their report, several supermarkets are already pledging to halve their plastic footprints by 2025 including both Aldi and Sainsbury's, with Morrisons currently being the only one to set specific targets for reusable packaging. Another company of note is Tesco who have just started a new partnership with Loop, as Greenpeace explains it, the project is thus. This project offers a variety of branded and unbranded products in reusable packaging. Customers pay a deposit after ordering online, and the products arrive on their doorsteps in a tote bag. Empties go back in the tote bag for collection when the next delivery arrives. Loop then washes, dries and refills the containers for reselling. Sounds pretty nifty to me!