UK supermarkets urged to create plastic-free aisle in every store

Supermarkets are being urged to create a plastic-free aisle in every store to prevent tons of waste packaging ending up in the world's oceans.

Around 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year, yet just 12 per cent of it is recyclable and much of it is washed into the seas where it is toxic to wildlife.

Sian Sutherland, a trustee of marine conservation charity Plastic Oceans Foundation, will meet with representatives from all of Britain's major supermarkets in coming weeks to urge them to give shoppers the chance to buy food which is only packaged in biodegradable materials.

The government is currently considering adding a charge of up to 20p to plastic bottles, which can be reclaimed when they are recycled, in a bid to cut waste. The 5p charge which was added to plastic bags in October 2015 has already seen use fall by 80 per cent. But campaigners are urging retailers to go further.

"There is a growing realisation among people that plastic is not disposable and is harming our planet, yet the maddening thing is that it's virtually impossible to buy food without packaging," said Mrs Sutherland.

"We have more choice than ever before for everything. There are countless gluten free or organic, or kosha aisles, and yet we have absolutely no choice about buying food that is packaged in plastic.

An local boy carries polluted water of Ganges River in plastic containers as he gets some coins from devotees in exchange for holy water. Photo / Getty Images
An local boy carries polluted water of Ganges River in plastic containers as he gets some coins from devotees in exchange for holy water. Photo / Getty Images


"It is a double whammy problem because not only does it make us feel guilty about all this packaging we are using but science is starting to show us that wrapping food in plastic can bring health problems."

The campaign 'A Plastic Free Aisle' will be launched by A Plastic Planet in the next few weeks and environmentalists say their plan is 'clear, simple and doable.'

Supermarkets including Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury's said they would respond to the proposals once discussions with campaigners had taken place.

The call for action comes amid the launch of film A Plastic Ocean, which is backed by the Plastic Oceans Foundation and currently being shown at special screenings across Britain to highlight the sheer scale of plastic pollution in the sea.

Sir David Attenborough, who was interviewed for the film, said: "The whole of the ecosystems of the world are built on healthy oceans and if that part of the planet becomes dysfunctional and goes wrong the the whole of life on the planet will suffer."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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