In an article published on October 12, 2017 by the newspaper The Guardian, reporter Sandra Laville informed that Andy Clarke, former CEO of Asda, which is one of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains, has voiced a call on supermarkets “to stop using plastic packaging.”

Clarke, who has overseen many recycling programs during his six years at Asda, summarized that a “neverending stream of initiatives” aimed at increasing plastics recycling, and “billions of pounds of investment in recycling” have all “failed to reduce the scale of plastic pollution.” He further noted that “unlike materials like aluminum and glass, plastic packaging cannot be recycled ad infinitum,” rather, most plastic packaging items “can only be recycled twice before they become unusable.”

Based on these considerations, Clarke sees the current situation as a “plastic proliferation crisis,” because, despite all the ongoing recycling efforts, “virtually all plastic packaging will reach landfill or the bottom of the ocean sooner or later, [and] . . . remain [there] for centuries.” Therefore, Clarke claims, “the UK packaging industry and supermarkets [should] work together to turn off the tap,” and “the only [viable] solution . . . [would be] for retailers to reject plastic entirely in favor of more sustainable alternatives like paper, steel, glass and aluminum.”

“We have been able to recycle plastic for decades yet it remains a scourge on the planet. Recycling will never offer a durable solution to the plastic crisis – we simply have to use less plastic in the first place,” so Clarke.

He further proposes that, in response to the “heightened public awareness of the dire consequences of unfettered plastic pollution,” and as a first step towards “a future . . . as far as possible plastic-free,” supermarkets should create “plastic-free aisles to cater for their customers’ demands and to showcase the wealth of alternatives to plastic.”

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Sandra Laville (October 12, 2017). “Supermarkets must stop using plastic packaging, says former Asda boss.The Guardian

Plastics News (October 13, 2017). “Former UK supermarket boss calls for halt in plastic packaging.