Waitrose has announced a donation of half a million pounds from carrier bag levy funds to the Commonwealth Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Challenge Fund. Focused on supporting research into the issue of plastics in the marine environment, the Fund also aims to prevent the material finding its way into the ocean.
Rob Collins, Managing Director of Waitrose, said:
‘‘We’re very pleased to be an early contributor to the Fund and wish it every success in tackling these pressing issues. It feels appropriate that our support is coming from carrier bag levy proceeds and will help with the development of solutions to marine plastic pollution.’’
Following a year’s successful partnership between Waitrose and the Marine Conservation Society, a further half a million pounds of carrier bag levy funds has been pledged for a further 12 months. The Waitrose Beach and River Clean-Up has seen nearly 500 beaches and rivers across England cleaned of debris since July 2017.
Together with £500,000 given to the Marine Conservation Society last year, half a million pounds is made up of money pledged last year to tackle plastic with an additional £500,000 coming from carrier bag levy funds. This means £1.5 million of Waitrose’s carrier bag levy funds will have gone to help tackle plastic pollution.
This builds on the industry leading steps Waitrose has already taken to reduce the risk of plastic reaching marine life. In September 2016 it became the first supermarket to stop selling items containing microbeads and exclusively sells paper stem cotton buds.
All Waitrose cafes offer non-plastic crockery and all drinks stirrers are made out of wood.
Waitrose has committed to making all its own-label packaging widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable by 2025. Since 2009 it has reduced its overall packaging by nearly 50% and 80% of its packaging is widely recyclable.
The supermarket will remove all takeaway disposable coffee cups from its shops by autumn 2018, saving more than 52 million cups a year.