Our award-winning reporting has moved

Context provides news and analysis on three of the world’s most critical issues:

climate change, the impact of technology on society, and inclusive economies.

First 'plastic free' label to help shoppers curb pollution

by Lin Taylor | @linnytayls | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 13:59 GMT

The Plastic Free logo, launched by British campaign group A Plastic Planet, is shown on food products at British supermarket giant Iceland. Photo supplied by A Plastic Planet

Image Caption and Rights Information

"We all know the damage our addiction to plastic has caused, we want to do the right thing and buy plastic-free"

By Lin Taylor

LONDON, May 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new "plastic-free" logo launched in Britain on Wednesday will allow shoppers to identify products with plastic packaging, as companies come under growing pressure to use green alternatives.

Eight million tonnes of plastic - bottles, packaging and other waste - are dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, according to the United Nations.

Growing concern from the public and lawmakers about the damage to the environment means food and drink manufacturers and retailers are under pressure to act on plastic waste.

"We all know the damage our addiction to plastic has caused, we want to do the right thing and buy plastic-free," said Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, the British-based campaign group behind the new label.

"But it is harder than you think, and a clear, no-nonsense label is much needed. Finally, shoppers can be part of the solution not the problem."

British supermarket giant Iceland, Dutch supermarket Ekoplaza, which launched a plastic-free aisle earlier this year, and British tea company teapigs are among the first companies to adopt the label.

Last month, more than 40 companies including Britain's biggest supermarkets, Coca Cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble, signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, pledging to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025.

In January, privately-owned Iceland became the first British supermarket to promise to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products.

"With the grocery retail sector accounting for more than 40 percent of plastic packaging in the UK, it's high time that Britain's supermarkets came together to take a lead," said Iceland's managing director Richard Walker in a statement.

In 2015 Britain introduced a charge for plastic bags which has led to an 80 percent reduction in plastic bag use since 2015.

Nearly 200 nations late last year signed a U.N. resolution to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea, a move some hope will pave the way to a legally binding treaty.

(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, gender equality, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.