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UK supermarkets launch voluntary pledge to cut plastic packaging

UK supermarkets and food companies launched a new voluntary pledge to cut plastic packaging on Thursday as ministers were considering to force them into paying more towards collecting and recycling the waste they produce.

In a first response to a growing public backlash against the huge volumes of plastic rubbish, most of the UK’s largest supermarkets signed up to support the UK Plastics Pact — an industry-wide initiative which says it aims to transform packaging and reduce avoidable plastic waste, reports the Guardian.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose are among the 42 businesses so far supporting the new pledge, which includes an aspiration that by 2025 all plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or composted.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realised if government, businesses and the public work together.”

Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, added: “We all have a role to play in reducing the amount of plastics used in society. For our part we accept our responsibilities and are working hard to reduce the use of plastic across our business.”

Plastic waste has recently become an emotive issue in the UK, with programmes like Blue Planet exposing its impact on the oceans, and regular media coverage exposing the dangers of a global plastic binge.

Ministers are considering changes to the way retailers and supermarkets contribute to the collection and recycling of their waste, known as the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) scheme, the Guardian reported.

Supermarkets in the UK pay less towards collecting and recycling their plastic waste than in any other European country – leaving taxpayers to pick up 90 per cent of the bill.

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