In response to an e-petition backed by over 123,000 members of the public, Parliament debated on Monday (12th Nov) on requiring supermarkets to offer an option of plastic-free loose fresh fruit and vegetables.
Food packaging makes up around two-thirds of the average persons plastic footprint1 , with supermarkets creating an estimated 59 billion pieces of packaging totaling over 800,000 tonnes per year2. A recent survey carried out by ThoughtWorks revealed that in the next decade, plastic packaging will become the greatest consumer concern for British shoppers, ranking even more of an important consideration than pricing.
The debate was lead by Steve Double MP – Chair of the Ocean Conservation APPG, who stated
“There is no doubt that plastic pollution is one of the biggest global challenges of our time”
Key speeches on the issue were also given by Tulip Siddiq MP, John Howell MP, John McNally MP and Sandy Martin MP.
Kerry McCarthy MP expressed praise of Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic-Free Parliament’s campaign on the importance of Parliament setting an example for the country.
Surfers Against Sewage welcomes the drive to reduce plastic consumption and see it as a positive step forward. Reducing avoidable plastic packaging and waste reflects the values of Surfers Against Sewage’s award winning Plastic Free Communities campaign now active in close to 400 communities across the UK. Supermarkets need to respond to consumer choice and it’s time for urgent action.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Dr Thérèse Coffey, issued a response, which can be read in full here, although many areas were subject to the release of the Waste and Resources Strategy which expected within the next few weeks.
“I am confident that the Government will do many things, although I might have to disappoint some Members today because some of those things will emerge from the resources and waste strategy, which we intend to publish soon.” – Thérèse Coffey