M&S; Packaging not as Green as Competition


Marks & Spencer has made a large effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Their Plan A project has seen many incremental steps move the chain towards a more sustainable model.

Unfortunately though, their packaging seems to be rather hard to recycle. A new report has shown that less of their packaging can be recycled than any other large supermarket chain.

The Local Government Association report claims that only 60% of Marks and Spencer's can be recycled. Bizarrely, the low-cost chain, Asda, beats this by a clear 10%, and market traders improve on this even further, with 79% recyclable packaging.

Unfortunately for us, the cost of disposing of all this waste falls on councils, funding by taxpayer's money.

"Councils and council taxpayers are facing fines of up to £3bn if we do not dramatically reduce the amount of waste thrown into landfill," says Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA's environment board.

"People are working hard to increase their recycling rates, but their efforts are being hamstrung by needlessly over-packaged products on sale in supermarkets."

The research was done by purchasing 29 common items from a range of shops; Asda, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco, as well as a high-street store and a market. The packaging was then analysed, to reveal that 5% of the weight of the average shop is down to the packaging alone.

"We've set ourselves clear and demanding targets ... to reduce our use of non-glass packaging by 25% and only use materials that can be easily recycled or composted. While we've made good progress over the last 12 months, we know there's still much more yet to do in both areas," says Mike Barry, head of corporate social responsibility at Marks & Spencer.

"Almost 70% of our packaging is recyclable across the majority of local authorities. A further 20% could also be recycled if there was a more consistent approach to recycling across the UK. We're working with local authorities to help address this."

A list of the figures for all tested stores can be found at the Guardian. ::The Guardian ::Picture Source