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To: The CEO of M&S
Get M&S to use compostable food packaging.
M&S have just announced a deal with Ocado to provide a home delivery service and a big shift towards food at its stores, targeting the weekly shop of customers, aiming to increase their average spend from £13 to £100.
Let's ask them to become market leaders in biodegradable food packaging.
Why is this important?
I love M&S food. It is a cut above many other food retailers and I was really excited to hear that I will be able to order online for home delivery with Ocado by September 2020 at the latest. I would love to be able to do a weekly shop with M&S especially during busy weeks when I don't have the time or the energy to cook a nutritious meal every night for my family. With an M&S meal you can be healthy and there is very little food waste, which is good for the environment.
However, there is a big but - the heavy use of single-use plastic in their food packaging. You may have seen the story in the press about the cauliflower 'burgers' which were slices of cauliflower packaged in a large single-use plastic container.
Single-use plastic is the kind that is used once and then thrown away, like food packaging, water bottles, coffee cups, straws and grocery bags.
The problem is, every piece of plastic ever produced is still on our planet. There is more micro-plastic in the ocean than there are stars in our galaxy. Plastic is dumped in landfill and the ocean, and never biodegrades. It just gets smaller and smaller, and eventually ends up in our food chain.
Supermarkets in the UK produce 800 000 tonnes of plastic waste each year and that figure is set to quadruple by 2050. Recycling is good but only 9% of plastic is recycled world wide. We recently learnt that 65% of the plastic we recycled in the UK was shipped to China until China refused to take anymore.
The obvious solution is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic used.
M&S have up to a year and a half to get ready for their home delivery service and increase in food sales. Whilst they upgrade the scale of food production, they have a unique opportunity to focus on the use of truly biodegradable, compostable packaging.
Legislation is underway and environmental groups are lobbying the UK government to ban single-use plastic so all supermarkets will likely be forced to change their packaging in the future.
The UN has told us we only have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. Let's ask M&S not to wait for legislation, but to demonstrate true leadership and responsibility and show other food retailers that environmentally friendly food packaging is not only possible but that we the customers want it.