Supermarkets have been ranked by Greenpeace for plastic waste reduction measures, with Iceland top and Sainsbury’s bottom.
The rankings of the 10 biggest UK supermarkets are based on their commitments to reduce single-use plastic, eliminate non-recyclable plastic packaging, engage with supply chains and transparent reporting, according to Greenpeace.
The research by Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency draws on responses from the supermarkets to a survey.
It gives each a score out of 10, with Iceland getting 5.7 and Sainsbury’s 3.2. In between is Morrisons in second place with 5.3 and Waitrose third with 4.7.
Ocado was the only major grocery retailer who refused to participate in the survey, according to Greenpeace.
The survey found the 10 supermarkets put 810,000 tonnes of single-use plastic on the market each year, amounting to 59 billion pieces.
Half have “no specific targets to reduce plastic packaging,” according to a Greenpeace spokesman, while those that do are moving so slowly it would take “20 years to completely rid their shelves of throwaway plastic”.
Iceland came out on top thanks to its target of eliminating plastic packaging from own label by 2023.
The survey also found the 10 supermarkets are responsible for 1.1 billion single-use bags, almost one billion bags for life and 1.2 billion plastic produce bags for fruit and vegetables.
Supermarkets to have not yet adopted plastic-specific reduction targets included Aldi, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, according to the report.
“Plastic pollution is now a full-blown environmental crisis and our supermarkets are right at the heart of it. Much of the throwaway plastic packaging filling up our homes comes from supermarket shelves, but high street giants are still not taking full responsibility for it,” said Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Elena Polisano.
“So far most retail bosses have responded to growing concern from customers with a pick-and-mix of different plastic announcements, but have failed to come up with the coherent plastic reduction plans required to solve this problem.
“The success of the plastic bag charge shows big retailers can crack down on plastic waste if they really mean to. Every little may well help, but if we are to protect our natural world and ourselves from pervasive plastic pollution, supermarkets need to check out on throwaway plastic fast.”
The news comes as Wrap publishes new targets which business must achieve by next year and 2022, in a roadmap towards longer-term plastic reduction commitments for 2025.