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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

High Street Giants Join the War on Plastic Waste

In a move to reduce pollution caused by single use plastic, supermarket chain Morrisons is the latest big name to announce that they will not be using glitter on their own brand Christmas cards or wrapping papers this year. Glitter, which is commonly made from plastic, has long been held as a major contributor to plastic pollution. The tiny particles often get washed into water systems.

This announcement comes after Asda said in September that they would be launching a sustainable range of Christmas items for 2020. Tesco currently only use edible glitter on their festive products. This means that the glitter dissolves and does not add to the pollution problem. Sainsbury’s have also said that “customers will find no glitter on our Christmas cards, wrapping paper or gift bags”. This comes alongside a move to reduce the amount of glitter on other items. 

Waitrose and John Lewis have also been moving to gradually phase out the use of single use plastics across all of their own brand ranges. They previously set themselves the target to be completely recyclable or suitable for home composting by 2023. This year, they have said that all of their festive products will be “100% glitter free”. 

It is estimated that between 4 and 12 tonnes of plastic waste make it into the world’s rivers and oceans each year. Once it is in the water systems, plastic breaks down into tiny micro-particles where it is then ingested by wildlife and causes damage to ecosystems. These latest announcements by big businesses will be welcome news to ecologists and environmental campaigners who are currently calling for the UK government to ban single use plastics entirely. The campaign group, Friends of the Earth say that companies are “right to ditch unnecessary plastic this Christmas”, adding “we must go further to end the scourge of plastic pollution”.

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