Brands wage war on use of plastics, but is it enough?

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This week, ASDA became the latest brand to sign up to fight the war against plastic. It announced plans to reduce the amount of plastic used in its packaging by 10 percent within 12 months. This includes eliminating the use of 5p plastic bags, plastic straws and plastic cups by the end of 2018.
The supermarket giant has now joined the likes of Coca Cola, Evian, Waitrose, Iceland and McDonalds. The positive movement follows the government’s January announcement of hopes to ‘eliminate all avoidable plastic waste’ within 25 years.
Arguably sparked by an episode of the nationally celebrated BBC show ’Blue Planet II’ plenty of brands have proffered to commit to combat the issue of plastic waste in the past month. The episode titled ‘How plastic is killing our sea creatures’ showed upsetting footage of the grave effects that waste plastic has on marine life including whales and turtles, leaving viewers unsettled.
But the capture of such perturbing images begs the question, are we too late? Whilst this is is obviously the start of a very positive movement, plastic is durable, strong and long-lasting, meaning it can last approximately 600 years in our oceans, according to Plastic Free Pledge.
Real changes need to be made by brands to reduce the use of plastics across the board. Britain’s leading supermarkets alone create more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste every year, research by The Guardian found.
It is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but action needs to happen fast, and be on-going. According to Ellen McArthur Foundation, by weight there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans, by 2050. Brands need to ensure they are committing to plastic-banning initiatives on a long-term scale and not just levering new, topical sustainability plans as part of PR opportunities.
We’ll be monitoring the media for more news on the war against plastic here at SGPR, and giving a little cheer for every new brand that lines up to fight!