Plastics roam the earth, devouring our seas.
Plastics roam the earth, devouring our seas.

Following outcry over the full extent of the problems caused by widespread plastic pollution, I’ve joined over 200 MPs in writing to the CEOs of all major supermarkets asking them to cut back on their use of plastic.

Supermarket chain Iceland recently announcedthat it will eliminate plastic packaging from its own brand food over the next five years, and I’m pleased to hear that Waitrose have also committed to removing black plastic from their packaging.

Each year 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in seas and oceans, damaging the environment and many marine animals. I’m sure many of you will have seen Blue Planet II’s depiction of animals trapped and killed by our waste plastics, and it’s vital that supermarkets who generate so much plastic waste take action to reduce the harm caused.

Plastics are an unavoidable part of our lives – but there are so many cases where food doesn’t need to be packaged in plastic and could use reusable or biodegradable packaging instead.

I hope the supermarkets decide to reduce and eliminate their use of plastics in packaging, but in the meantime we should think about how we can reduce our personal use as well.

You can read the full letter below:

As I am sure you are aware, the supermarket chain Iceland, announced today that it will eliminate plastic packaging from all its own brand products by the end of 2023. This is an important step forward in tackling the problem of excessive plastic packaging and preventing further damage to our environment.

We are keen to know if you will also commit to eliminating such packaging by 2023, if not before. Moreover, we would be most grateful if you could provide us with information on what plans are currently in place to reduce plastic packaging on your own branded goods.

Each year we produce over 300 million tonnes of plastic- equivalent to the weight of the world’s entire population. Of this, it has been estimated that over 12 million tonnes of such plastic end up in our seas and oceans, which can entangle and become ingested by marine life.

When plastic was created it was hailed as a miracle product precisely because of its toughness and its apparent indestructibility. These very qualities are the reason why we need swift and decisive action to tackle this problem of global proportions and secure the future of our environment.

We would like to pay tribute to work of the Environmental Audit Committee in Parliament, and NGOs such as Greenpeace, Plastic Oceans and Friends of the Earth for their efforts in campaigning for an effective and sustainable solution to this problem. Also, we praise the remarkable work of Sir David Attenborough and Blue Planet II production team, for highlighting this problem with sharp and chilling focus to millions of people worldwide.

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