2018 Earth Day

Earth Day Emails with Supermarkets: Asda, Iceland, Lidl, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose

Since this meeting we become aware of the excellent "European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, adopted on 16 January 2018, that aims to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU" with the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030.


At the end of this page are copies of the correspondence from the two community groups Kingston Environment Centre and Action for Happiness – New Malden Hub to the above supermarkets asking questions related to the 22 April Earth Day theme of Ending Plastic Pollution.

The following are the five Supermarket responses in order of receipt. Waitrose have acknowledged our enquiry but not yet replied.

Earth Day Note: In March IBM (an Action for Happiness sponsor) received a 2018 Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management -- Goal Achievement from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry (TCR), in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies. This is the second time they have been recognized with an award in the Goal Achievement category and the sixth time to win a Climate Leadership Award in the Award's seven-year history. www.ibm.com/ibm/environment/news/climate_leadership_award_2018.shtml

Tesco - 24/4/2018 08:38

Re: FW: Earth Day Theme of Ending Plastic Pollution << Reference ID: 6643762 >>


24/4/2018 08:38

To yoga@mindfulnessfoundation.org.uk

Hi there

Thank you for taking both the time and effort to reach out to Dave and the Tesco board of executives.

I do hope you don’t mind but I have been asked to address this issue on his behalf.

Waste and plastic pollution is of grave concern to us here and to myself on a personal level, I have to commend you and the two community groups for stepping up to address the issue, understanding our own personal responsibilities and for holding companies such as ourselves to account.

Having read the list of areas you would like us to consider directly, I like to think you might be pleased to learn that we have already taken strides to address some of these concerns (Clearly labelled recyclable/non-recyclable products and a commitment to have all our own products contained in recyclable packaging) and as for the other ideas, they are very interesting and will be documented and raised.

As for the rest of our strategy to help reduce waste and promote recycling, I have detailed below some of our key commitments and I do hope that satisfactorily answer you query.

Tesco takes this matter seriously, and we have for a long time been taking actions to reduce the amount of packaging we use. For example, so far in the UK we have removed polystyrene from our fish packaging and replaced it with a more environmentally friendly plastic, avoiding 653 tonnes of polystyrene being used. With our meat trays, we have replaced a two layer plastic tray with a single layer plastic, thereby making 84 million trays easier to recycle and removing 96 tonnes of plastic and overall, over 78% of the packaging on all our own brand products is now recyclable (depending on if the local authority collects it).

Yet, we recognise that we can do more in partnership with government, and a range of stakeholders, to help establish a robust, closed loop approach which can be applied to all key packaging materials. We have developed three strategic priorities to help reduce packaging waste and boost recycling across the UK:

1. Materials and design: In collaboration with our suppliers we can reduce and simplify the types of materials we use in our packaging so that less packaging is used and packaging is easier to recycle.

2. Recovery and recycling: We need to help create an integrated collection system for packaging in the UK. A cost-effective Deposit Return System (DRS) is one initiative in a broader holistic approach that could help achieve the broader goals of reducing waste. We are working with the industry to explore all the potential solutions.

3. Changing customer behaviour: With a widely understood recycling infrastructure in place, we can help customers recycle more with simple, clear and consistent information on packaging.

As part of our Little Helps Plan, we have also made three specific commitments:

· Making all packaging fully recyclable or compostable by 2025

· All paper and board used will be 100% sustainable by 2025

· Halve packaging weight by 2025

We have a long standing policy on packaging and sustainability which takes into account its role of preserving and protecting products, but also recognises the importance of reducing our environmental impact. I do hope the targets and priorities outlined above have reassured you of our commitment.

More information about out work and case studies can be found atwww.tescoplc.com/packaging.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to us and should you have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me here as I will be more than willing to assist.

Kind regards

Gary Wallace

Customer Service Executive to the Board

LIDL - 24/4/2018 09:03Reference #33947199:

24/4/2018 09:03

Dear Jean

Re: Your Contact

Thank you for contacting our CEO. I have been asked to respond on his behalf.

At Lidl UK we fully support the need to tackle the important issue of plastic waste and the detrimental impact that this is having on the environment. Lidl has long been committed to the reduction of unnecessary plastic waste, and was one of the first retailers in the UK to encourage customers to re-use their shopping bags. We have charged for our plastic carrier bags for the last 23 years for this reason. This commitment was further reinforced in 2017 through the removal of all single-use bags from our stores.

In the same year we made some strong positive steps ahead of legislation by eradicating mircrobeads from all cosmetic and household products, and committed to the removal of plastic-stemmed cotton buds, which we are in the process of replacing with biodegradable stems.

We are proud to have one of the highest proportions of loose fruit and vegetables of all British supermarkets, and continue to test and trial the removal of packaging throughout the range. We remain mindful that packaging can be beneficial in optimising shelf life and helping to reduce food waste, both in store and at home, so we are also working closely with our suppliers to increase the proportion of recyclable material used.

In tackling plastic waste we believe that, rather than focusing efforts on one system and one waste stream, the most effective way to achieve this is through a fully developed and comprehensive approach to combatting littering, minimising waste and strengthening resource efficiency.

We will work closely with the industry and government in developing a progressive and fully developed approach to resource efficiency and the circular economy, in order to deliver an effective long-term solution to the issue of plastic waste.

Thank you again for contacting us.

Yours sincerely,

For and on behalf of Lidl UK GmbH

Emma Cohen

Customer Service Management

[T] + 44 (0) 370 444 1234 / 0800 977 7766

[E] customer.services@lidl.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information visit our website www.lidl.co.uk

Sainsbury - 24/4/2018 09:32

Your Sainsbury's Case ID: ECM-46979


Your Sainsbury's Case ID: ECM-46979/DT

Dear Ms Vidler

Thanks for your email to Mike Coupe. I’ve been asked to respond to you on his behalf. I’m sorry you’re unhappy with the amount of plastic packaging used and I welcome the chance to address this.

We want our customers to shop with us with confidence and know how important it is that we work hard to package our products with the environment in mind, so it’s concerning you feel let down on this occasion.

Please be assured that we’ve taken your comments seriously and shared them with the relevant departments. I can confirm that, every time we review our products, we review our packaging. We’ve long been working hard to reduce packaging and, in 2005, we were amongst the first participants of the first Courtauld Commitment, committing to cut packaging.

Since this time we’ve already reduced our packaging by 31%, and our target is to reach a 50% reduction by 2020 (on 2005 baseline). This was an industry leading target, and we’re pleased to see that others have followed. We were also leading members of the on-pack recycling scheme, with WRAP and the BRC, helping customers understand what items can be recycled.

As you may know, in some cases plastics provides the best protection and necessary barriers to keep our products safe to be consumed as well the best quality we would want and expect our customers to experience. Theshelf life of fruit and vegetables in packaging can be significantly increased than if no packaging is present. For example, a cucumber sold in film can last up to 14 days, where as it would only stay fresh for 2 days without that film.

Where we choose to use plastic we try and make sure that the material can be recycled either at curb-side or in with our carrier bag collection in store. Where there is no opportunity to recycle it we’re working on industry projects to either create a recycling stream or use a material which is recyclable. If we were to remove plastic it would increase food waste, which is another issue. We already sell a lot of our fruit and vegetables as an option to buy loose, if customers want to avoid plastic on their fresh produce.

However, I’ve shared your suggestions with our buyers and suppliers, who’ll take this into consideration on their next review.

I hope I’ve helped reassure you of our commitment to our customers and the environment. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us, giving us the opportunity to respond.

Kind regards

Danielle Travers | Executive Office

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd

ASDA - 24/4/201 17:21

Earth Day Theme of Ending Plastic Pollution - 180423-006116




Thanks for taking the time to contact us regarding your recent enquiry.

One of our colleagues has sent the below response and we hope we've solved your query.

If you still have any questions just reply to this email and we'll get back to you.

We would love your feedback on how we did to help us be better in future. Click here to access our survey.


Hi Jean,

Thank you for contacting us about this issue.

We want our customers to trust that we’re doing the right things on the issues that matter to them. That is why we recently published our commitments to reducing our use of plastic and recycling more.

We’ve already got a strong track record when it comes to reducing our packaging. We’ve reduced out total weight of packaging by 27% since 2007 and are committed to making all our Own Brand packaging recyclable by 2025.

But, we’ve challenged ourselves to look at how we can move faster on this important issue and have identified some immediate actions we can take.

    • Over the next 12 months we will be removing 10% of plastic from all our own brand products as well as continuing to work with our suppliers and other experts to explore new options and find more recyclable solutions.
    • We will be phasing out 5p ‘single use’ carrier bags from our stores in 2018, with a donation from the sale of our “bags for life” going to good causes.
    • We will also introduce a zero profit re-usable coffee cup to provide our customers with a great value alternative to single use cups. Alongside this, we will also be removing all single use cups and plastic cutlery from our head offices in 2018, with all our stores and in store cafes adopting the same policy by the end of 2019.

As part of our longer term work to look at new innovations in plastics and to find different solutions to plastic, we are also working in partnership with the UK’s leading experts in packaging technology at Leeds Beckett University Retail Institute as well as one of our biggest UK suppliers, ABP, on priority projects to develop new alternatives to plastics and more recyclable materials.

Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch and if you wish to read more on our pledge please follow the link below:


Kind Regards

Samantha Taylor

Asda Service Team


Dear Mr Bowers

Thank you for your email.

Iceland has a long history of campaigning and leading positive change for the environment, and we are looking to do the same with this landmark campaign to make all of our own label product packaging free from plastics by 2023.

At least one third of plastics, much of this relating to packaging, is single use and then discarded, and only a third of plastics are recycled in the UK - the remainder either ends up in landfill, incinerated or is discarded illegally.

We have already started to make changes by our first new range being launched using a paper based tray, rather than plastic. We are also going to try and work with our branded suppliers to make changes. Iceland only works with trusted suppliers and we have strong relationships throughout the supply chain. We're passionate about our own brand products being free from plastic, but this is just the start. We're speaking to all of our branded suppliers and encouraging them to follow our lead.

I hope that this information helps and if you have any further queries, please feel free to get back in touch.

Kind regards


Iceland Customer Care

Best Big Company to Work For

Iceland is the best high street retailer to work for in the UK in 2013. For more information, go to www.Iceland.co.uk

(Source: Sunday Times Best Big Company to Work For survey 2013)

Email sent to Supermarkets: Asda, Iceland, Lidl, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose

Sent on Earth Day 22 April 2018 from the two community groups Kingston Environment Centre and Action for Happiness – New Malden Hub to the above supermarkets asking the following questions related to the 22 April Earth Day theme of Ending Plastic Pollution.

Subject: Earth Day Theme of Ending Plastic Pollution

22/4/2018 09:51

To customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk

Rob Collins

Managing Director


Dear Mr Collins,

Earth Day Theme of Ending Plastic Pollution - If you used Google on Earth Day you will have seen the Dr Jane Goodall Doodle!

At a local joint meeting last Thursday in New Malden KT3 5BL, our two community groups Kingston Environment Centre and Action for Happiness focused on the 22 April Earth Day theme of Ending Plastic Pollution. Whilst, we fully accept that individually we have to change our attitudes and behaviours about plastics, members requested that we thank Iceland for being our local supermarket and ask about your plans to reduce the amount of plastic waste arising from your business. www.earthday.org

Some areas we request you to consider are:

· Never sell, give away or use - single-use plastic disposables (plastic cutlery, bags, food trays)

· Ensure any plastic items or packaging used in a store is recyclable, that is, locally recyclable

· Clearly label items if they are made of a plastic that is not normally recyclable

· Commit to finding products and materials that replace any made of non-recyclable plastics

· Promote durability, waste reduction and re-use rather than disposability as positive product qualities