Waitrose gives £1 million to tackle plastic pollution

Jack O'Donovan By: Jack O'Donovan
Date posted: 26 April 2018

Last year saw 500 beaches and rivers across England cleaned of debris following a year’s successful partnership between Waitrose and the Marine Conservation Society. Today, a further half a million pounds of carrier bag levy funds has been pledged for another 12 months.

Waitrose- MCS

Our support is coming from carrier bag levy proceeds and will help with the development of solutions to marine plastic pollution

Rob Collins,
Managing Director of Waitrose

The implementation of the carrier bag levy has lent itself enormously to the efforts of the Marine Conservation Society in tackling ocean plastic pollution.

The data from beach and river cleans forms a database that is passed onto governments and is openly accessible for further study.

A 30% reduction in carrier bags has been seen on the seafloor surrounding the UK since the introduction of the carrier bag levy.

A second half a million pounds will go to the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Challenge Fund. So far £1.5 million of Waitrose’s carrier bag levy funds will have gone to help tackle plastic pollution.

Rob Collins, Managing Director of Waitrose, said: ‘‘We’re very pleased to be an early contributor to the Fund and wish it every success in tackling these pressing issues. It feels appropriate that our support is coming from carrier bag levy proceeds and will help with the development of solutions to marine plastic pollution.’’

Waitrose has seen a 50% reduction in packaging in the last nine years. Takeaway disposable coffee cups are to be removed from its stores by autumn 2018, saving more than 52 million cups a year. The store has also committed to making all its own brand packaging widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025.

Commitments made at industry level are a great confidence boost for those doing their bit at home to reduce the amount of plastic in daily life. Partnerships such as this have shown to be both beneficial and informative to both parties and we hope that they continue strong into the future in our efforts to stop the plastic tide.

Do you want to help stop the plastic tide? We are currently calling on UK governments to put a charge on single-use plastic throwaway items and demanding that big fast food chains stop giving out millions of plastic cups, stirrers, straws and cutlery but instead replace them with reusable or fully compostable alternatives.

Actions you can take

  1. Visit the beachwatch website
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019
  3. Organise a beach clean
  4. Join a beach clean

Did you know?…

UK seas and shores are places for leisure, sport, and holiday destination for millions annually

Since the carrier bag charge came in across the UK, the Great British Beach Clean has recorded almost 50% fewer bags on beaches

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes


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