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Environment

This UK Supermarket Just Pledged to Go 'Harder and Faster' to Stop Plastic Waste

Another one!

DJ Khaled says it better — but the point still stands.

Another British supermarket has joined what is quickly becoming a tidal wave of effort to cut down on plastic waste.

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Asda announced plans on Monday to reduce the amount of plastic it uses in its own-brand packaging “wherever it can.”

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The array of promises includes cutting the amount of plastic in its own-brand products by 10% in the next year, and replacing its 5p carrier bags with “bags for life” in all stores before 2018 is over, according to the Guardian. Across its cafes it has also promised to switch out 2.4 million plastic straws to paper, and reintroduce reusable cups.

The supermarket chain will also replace polystyrene pizza bases with cardboard, and change coloured drinks bottles to clear plastic. The latter could lead to 500 tonnes more of plastic getting recycled.

Got all that?

Read More: 200 MPs Call on UK Supermarkets to Scrap Plastic Packaging

Asda joins supermarket chain Iceland, which was the world’s first mainstream retailer to pledge to completely eliminate plastic packaging from its own-brand products by 2023. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have also promised to ban all single-use plastic bags.

“Where we are able to go faster and harder to remove avoidable plastics from our products, we will,” said Roger Burnley, Asda’s chief executive . “Our logic is to remove plastic wherever we can, and where it is required, to make it as recyclable as possible.”

Read More: Iceland Just Pledged to Be Totally Plastic Free by 2023

However, Asda refused to release figures for how much plastic they currently waste — and some have, while welcoming the pledge, questioned whether the store is going far enough.

“Asda’s pledge to slash plastic use is certainly very welcome – but why can’t it copy Iceland’s lead and ditch plastics from all its own-brand products?” said Julian Kirby, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Supermarkets should pull the plug on plastic packaging altogether — a move advocated by former Asda boss, Andy Clarke.”

Clarke was Asda’s chief executive for six years, and advocated for replacing plastics completely with paper, steel, glass, and aluminium.

Asda’s announcement comes after 200 cross-party MPs sent a letter calling on the UK’s biggest supermarkets — including Asda — to scrap plastic packaging by 2022. Led by Labour MP Catherine West, the campaign highlighted Iceland’s ambitious promise and urged its competitors to do more.

Read More: 9 Brilliant Ways the UK Is Cracking Down on Plastic Pollution

The British government has also backed the war on plastic, revealing a 25-year “global gold standard” plan in January, aiming to eradicate all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042.

Some environmental groups criticised its lack of urgency, however, and called for “emergency” action immediately. Weeks after the announcement, a Greenpeace investigation found that despite public statements, the UK had opposed new EU recycling targets. The UK had told EU officials in Brussels that it was “unable to support” the aim to recycle 65% of all waste thrown away by homes and business — including 50% of all plastics — by 2035.

So far in 2018, environment secretary Michael Gove has banned microbeads, extended the 5p bag tax to include all retailers (not just the big chains), and is reportedly considering plans to bring in a 25p charge on disposable coffee cups. There are 5 billion cups wasted every year, and the tax could reportedly raise £438 million.

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