Sainsbury’s feels the heat on plastics

Greenpeace has ramped up its pressure on Sainsbury’s to take more action on plastics after activists delivered thousands of complaints to the grocer’s head office in London.

The campaign group said its analysis showed that Sainsbury’s received more plastics complaints on Twitter than any of the top four supermarkets last year.

Sainsbury’s received more than 4,700 Twitter complaints about plastics in 2018, very slightly more than the 4,716 received by Tesco, which has nearly double Sainsbury’s market share, and twice the number of complaints received by Morrisons.

Greenpeace activists visited Sainsbury’s central London HQ to deliver the 4,724 Twitter complaints, as well as 2,309 more handwritten messages collected from customers, to urge the supermarket to tackle its “plastic problem”.

In response, Sainsbury’s unveiled a new set of plastics policies including a pledge to end the use of dark coloured plastics, which are difficult to recycle, across fresh foods by the end of 2019 and entirely by March 2020, and to remove all plastic packaging from Christmas crackers this year.

The supermarket will also introduce a trial scheme for customers to ‘pre-cycle’ packaging by providing an area to remove unwanted primary and secondary packaging in store and leave it for recycling.

Last year, Sainsbury’s came bottom in a Greenpeace survey of supermarket plastics policies, while in March this year the campaign group claimed Sainsbury’s had made the least progress on introducing plastic-reduction measures since January 2018.

Greenpeace is calling for Sainsbury’s to set yearly plastic reduction targets and to eliminate unnecessary and unrecyclable plastic by 2020.

Sainsbury’s said that previously implemented measures were already leading to a reduction of 8,101 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic and use of “virgin plastic” every year. Over the next twelve months, it said it would remove a further 1,280 tonnes of plastic from products and ensure all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

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