Daily Management Review

Sainsbury's Pledges To Reduce Plastic Usage By 50% After Consumer Pressure


Sainsbury's Pledges To Reduce Plastic Usage By 50% After Consumer Pressure
The United Kingdom based retailer Sainsbury's has pledged that it would reduce ythe amount of plastic that it uses in its business by at least 50 per cent in 2025.
"We are well aware that this is ambitious as we currently use around 120,000 tonnes of plastic per year and reduce plastic packaging by around 1% each year," the supermarket chain said in a statement.
There is increased pressure from governments and even consumers on retailers to reduce plastic pollution. Scientists and environmentalists have identified plastics to be the biggest man made pollutant that is threatening the marine environment and according to estimates in an article published in Nature Communications, every year about 2.4 million tonnes of the material goes into the Earth’s oceans. 
This is also a rising concern in the UK and according to the Greenpeace, its petition calling on UK supermarkets to ditch throwaway plastic packaging has been signed by more than 1.5 million people of the country, the advocacy organization said.
Reduction of use of plastics in milk bottles, fruit and vegetable packaging, and bottled beverages would be the focus of reduction, Sainsbury's said.
"Sainsbury's is reviewing alternative options including the introduction of refillable [milk] bottles, introducing returnable milk bottles or offering a reusable jug with milk in a lightweight plastic pouch," the company said.
By the end of 2019, recyclable alternatives would replace plastic trays for fresh food which would result in reduction of 6,000 tons of plastic usage in the business of Sainsbury’s. And by the end of 2020, recyclable alternatives would also replace the plastic film used on fruit and vegetables.
In a Greenpeace survey that analyzed public commitments on plastics made by major UK supermarkets and published in March this year, Sainsbury's was ranked last. According to Greenpeace, Sainsbury's CEO Mike Coupe was urged to do something to reduce plastic usage in the business of the retailer by more than 95,000 people through emails.
It was disappointed by the Greenpeace report. Sainsbury's said earlier this year and on Friday, the company refused to accept that it was doing less than in plastic usage reduction in comparison to its rivals.
The retailer is a pioneer in elimination of microbeads, or small pieces of plastic, in its own brand products, said a spokeswoman for the company. The retailer was among the very first in the business to offer its customers paper cotton swabs, she also said.
Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace UK's ocean plastics campaign, said that the latest pledge that was announced by Sainsbury’s was a "victory" for customers who had urged Sainsbury's to do more about plastic waste reduction.
"We commend Sainsbury's for listening and recognizing that huge plastic reduction and bringing in refillable packaging at scale are vital to tackling the plastic pollution crisis," Edge said.
Sainsbury's would collaborate with Greenpeace and furnish reports in this regards every six months, Coupe said in a video posted on its website on Friday.