A former chief executive of Asda is calling on supermarkets to stop using plastic packaging as he believes investment in recycling has failed to resolve the plastic pollution crisis.
Andy Clarke said that the only solution was for retailers to refuse plastic completely in exchange for more sustainable materials such as paper, steel, glass and aluminium.
The former ASDA boss told the Guardian newspaper: “Regardless of how much is invested in Britain’s recycling infrastructure, virtually all plastic packaging will reach landfill or the bottom of the ocean sooner or later. Once there, it will remain on the earth for centuries. It is vital that the UK packaging industry and supermarkets work together to turn off the tap.”
He suggested that customers want an alternative to plastic packaging and supermarkets should implement plastic-free aisles to adapt to customer needs.
Supporting the campaign, A Plastic Planet, he aimed to illustrate the alternatives in packaging, such as grass paper.
In the UK, less than 29% of the five million tonnes of plastic used annually is recovered and recycled, and globally more than eight million tonnes of plastic leaks into the oceans.
He added: “Unlike materials like aluminium and glass, plastic packaging cannot be recycled ad infinitum. Most items of plastic packaging can only be recycled twice before they become unusable.“