The Ocean Challenge

The First Ocean Challenge:
Fight Plastic in the Ocean

In 2021, the seven top UK supermarkets caused 59 billion pieces of plastic packaging (2,000 per household) into the environment annually. Supermarkets elsewhere are producing similarly huge amounts of plastic waste - much of which finds its way into rivers and then oceans.

Targeting supermarket packaging - If one can do it, they all can

From September, there will no longer be plastic fresh produce bags ("barrier bags") available for use in any of the 12 Coles supermarkets across the ACT.

The barrier bags were expected to be included with the ban on plastic straws and cotton buds with plastic sticks, but ACT Minister, Chris Steel, said a previous consultation with businesses and large supermarkets suggested there “weren’t great alternatives available”.

Action Point: Visit every supermarket near you and talk to staff, management and customers about alternatives to those flimsy single-use bags used for vegetables.

Morrisons is to ditch using plastic packaging for its own-label milk, switching to carbon neutral cartons across the range.

From this month, nine types of Morrisons fresh milk will be sold in Tetra Pak cartons to save an initial 100 tonnes of plastic a year. It also moved the majority of its own-label fresh juice from plastic bottles to cartons to remove another 678 tonnes of plastic per annum.

Tony Fearon, Dairy Category Director at Morrisons, said: “Fresh milk does not need to be in a plastic bottle. It keeps just as fresh ​ in a carton. Fresh milk is the top user of plastic packaging in our stores, so this will result in significant plastic reduction. ​

Action Point: Visit every supermarket near you and talk to staff, management and customers about alternatives to 2 litre plastic milk containers.

See what Greenpeace have to say

Join the Greenpeace campaign

Greenpeace have ranked 20 major U.S. grocery retailers based on their efforts to reduce plastic. Greenpeace say that "Every minute the equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans. That plastic can kill whales, seabirds, turtles, and fish. But all of this plastic doesn’t have to enter the ocean"

U.S. grocery retailers all scored lower than in 2019, largely having deprioritized sustainability, including plastic pollution, blaming it on Covid.

Many believed plastics industry propaganda, resuming single-use plastic checkout bags as corporate priorities shifted to keeping shelves stocked and responding to the public health risks of the pandemic.

In stark contrast to the U.S., even during the pandemic, many international supermarkets worldwide like ALDI UK & Ireland committed to reducing single-use plastics 50% by 2025.

Several U.S. retailers, including top-ranked Giant Eagle, are beginning to restart reduction initiatives that were paused when the pandemic spread to the U.S.

Action Point: ☞ Click on this link Tell the biggest supermarket chains in the USA that they must stop all single-use plastic packaging.