End the Use of ‘Not Currently Recycled’ Plastic Packaging by Major UK Supermarkets

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How much plastic do you bring home with each shopping?
And how much of it can you actually recycle?

From vegetables and fruits to pasta, rice and legumes, to freshly cut flowers, ice-lollies and toilet rolls – you name it  – majority of the packaging of products that we use on a daily basis still says that it is not currently recycled.
How is this possible?

Recycling systems differ across the UK and the not currently recycled symbol is used on products ‘when less than 20% of councils have household recycling collection facilities for that type of packaging in their area’.[1]
However, it is ultimately up to the individual businesses to decide on the composition of their packaging. While many consumers want to be responsible and recycle, large companies must allow their customers to do so by using materials that are currently recycled across the country.

Producing packaging that our society cannot deal with is completely unsustainable and extremely irresponsible. Giant companies that sell their own products wrapped in plastic packaging need to recognise their accountability and lead the way to a sustainable future.

Let’s urge Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and other major UK stores to change their packaging from [mostly] ‘not currently recycled’ materials to 100% recyclable or compostable packaging across their own ranges.

Plastic should be recycled. Adults know it and kids are being taught so at schools. According to the British Plastic Federation, ‘the optimum recovery route for most plastic items at the ‘end-of-life’ is to be recycled, preferably back into a product that can then be recycled again and again and so on’. [2]

But although recycling has generally increased over the last decade and despite the government saying that ‘retailers and their suppliers are encouraged to use materials that are widely collected for recycling’[3], the nature of plastic packaging found in our shops is still gloomy and consumers’ endeavour to recycle plastic is extremely limited.

The UK uses over 5 million tonnes of plastic each year of which only an estimated 29% is currently being recovered or recycled. [4]
While many of us are keen to recycle in order to save the environment, it is vital that the companies that make profit from selling products wrapped in plastic packaging do their part and reduce the amount of plastic destined to end up in landfill, starting with ditching all plastic that cannot currently be recycled.

Earlier this year the government debated and failed to ban all non-recyclable/non-compostable packaging in the UK in reaction to a petition that received over 100, 000 signatures. It is therefore very clear that it is now up to us, the consumers,  to pressure retailers, manufacturers and the packaging industry into change.

This petition aims to do just that. Please support it with your signature if you agree.


Sources:

[1] Recycle Now
https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/packaging-symbols-explained

[2] British Plastic Federation
http://www.bpf.co.uk//sustainability/Plastics_Recycling.aspx#1%20Plastics%20the%20Facts

[3] UK Government  (in response to the petition ‘Ban all non-recyclable/non-compostable packaging in the UK’)
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167596
 
[4] British Plastic Federation
http://www.bpf.co.uk//sustainability/Plastics_Recycling.aspx#1%20Plastics%20the%20Facts



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