I have joined over 120 other MPs in co-signing a letter to the Chief Executives of all major supermarkets to pressure them to commit to the elimination of plastic packing from their own branded goods by 2023, if not sooner.
This follows the trail blazing announcement by Iceland, whose Head Office is based in Flintshire, who announced this week that it will be plastic free within five years. The current plastic packaging would be replaced with paper and pulp trays and paper bags, which would be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities.
Plastic pollution has been a growing problem over many decades and we have now reached a tipping point, especially in regards to our oceans. Currently, it is estimated that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic debris will end up in the world’s oceans every year, and much of it is improperly discarded plastic litter.
The first oceanographic study to examine the amount of near-surface plastic debris in world’s oceans was published in 2014. It estimated that at least 5.25 trillion individual particles, weighing roughly 244,000 tonnes, were floating on or near the surface. This enters the food chain via plankton and will devastate our natural environment.
Plastic pollution is a real threat to our natural environment and biodiversity. It’s importance is on the same scale as DDT, the now banned insecticide, as plastic pollution kills wildlife in our oceans through the food chain and through destruction of habit. It is clear that action must be taken now, if not the consequences will be dire.
Iceland is a trailblazing a way forward in the world of supermarkets in pledging to abolish plastic packaging in five years. Flintshire has always been at the cutting edge of environmentally friendly activities, be it the production of offshore wind or the numerous small and medium sized businesses who specialise in green technology. Now the rest of the country must follow where we lead.
By joining with over 120 other MPs I’m sure we can gain traction and see the end of pointless plastic packaging in the UK.