This week I signed a pledge to #PassOnPlastic with Sky Ocean Rescue – a commitment to reduce single-use plastic consumption.
This week has been a significant turning point in the usage of plastics. Flintshire’s own Iceland foods has taken industry leading action on the reduction of plastic waste and Asda have soon followed.
Launched in January 2017, Sky Ocean Rescue aims to shine a spotlight on issues of ocean health, particularly single-use plastics, and inspire people to make small changes. The #PassOnPlastic pledge was also signed by 113 MPs, all making a public commitment to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics.
Sky Ocean Rescue’s whale, Plasticus, which is made up of a quarter of a ton of plastic – the amount that enters our oceans every second – arrived outside Parliament to bring to life the scale of the problem.
Sky have been working hard to raise awareness of ocean health and I am delighted to join their campaign and look at ways to reduce my own plastic consumption. It is deeply worrying that there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans, with 8 million tonnes more ending up there every year. We all have a role to play in protecting our oceans – that’s why I have signed my pledge to #PassOnPlastic and encourage others to do the same.
I welcome the announcement by Asda Stores Ltd that they will be following the action of Iceland in producing detailed plans about how it will reduce its use of plastic.
Recently, I 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 packaging from their own branded goods by 2023, if not sooner.
In the report published by Asda following this letter they have outlined what progress they have already made. Measures include:
• Committed to making all own brand packaging 100% recyclable by 2025;
• Reducing the weight of their packaging by 27%;
• Removed 500 tonnes of plastic by reducing the weight of their water bottles;
• Producing plastic free cotton buds from January 2018; and
• Reuse/recycle 21% of all George clothing hangers.
Going forward Asda will replace all plastic straws with paper, all plastic pizza boards with cardboard and phase out single use carrier bags during 2018 in favour of bags for life. Profits from the bags will be donated to good cases.
I am pleased to see that Asda is following the example set by Iceland and putting forward some ambition targets. The letter I and over 120 other MPs signed was a catalyst for change. We were able to demonstrate to supermarkets that the efforts they were taking so far were not up to standard and how through improvements they could help our natural environment.
But we should not rest on our laurels. If Blue Planet II taught us anything it showed that our seas have reached an unimaginable level of plastic pollution. If we are to save the ecosystems that our planet relies on we must press to eliminate as many plastics from everyday life as possible. And where this cannot be done we must up our game in regards to recycling.
We have are reaching a tipping point with our planet. If governments, businesses and individuals do not change their habits we will be undermining the sustainability of our natural environment. This announcement by Asda demonstrates that we can make a difference.
You can read the Asda report here.