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UK supermarkets produced 900,000 tonnes of plastic waste

Over three-quarters of Brits believe supermarkets are responsible for unacceptable levels of plastic pollution

  • 82% – nearly 43 million – of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically
  • 57%, or 30 million, think that plastic pollution is the single greatest threat to life and the environment in modern history
  • 77% of Brits, representing more than 40 million nationally state that, no matter how much they recycle, it is the manufacturers and supermarkets that are causing the most plastic pollution

Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, discusses the mobile technology helping retailers and customers alike to cut their plastic waste

A new report from Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency has found that the top ten supermarkets in the UK were still producing almost 900,000 tonnes of single use plastic every year. The figures denoting usage in 2019, had shown a decrease from the previous year, although they were still 1.2% higher than figures recorded in 2017.

Despite these figures, there are signs that supermarkets are indeed moving in the right direction. The sale of reusable ‘bags for life’ had increased by 65% since 2017, whilst the production of single-use plastic bags was down 8% on 2018. 

In light of this, Ubamarket- a pioneering app in retail technology – has commissioned nationally representative research that showcases exactly why environmental awareness has become such a concern for retailers as of late, and justifies the need for retailers to implement mobile technology:

  • 82% – nearly 43 million – of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically
  • 57%, or 30 million, think that plastic pollution is the single greatest threat to life and the environment in modern history
  • 77% of Brits, representing more than 40 million nationally state that, no matter how much they recycle, it is the manufacturers and supermarkets that are causing the most plastic pollution

Having active partnerships with EuroSPAR, Central England Co-Op and Warner Budgens, Ubamarket has now launched a ‘Plastic Alerts’ feature to offer retailers and customers alike a solution to combat their sustainability concerns. This allows shoppers to scan every product in-store for information on the recyclability of any packaging. Customers then receive a “sustainability score” at checkout, to see where they can easily make changes to shop more sustainably. 

Will Broome, CEO and Founder of  Ubamarket, discusses the importance of sustainability moving forward for Britain’s retailers and provides insight into the role of technology in the movement towards a more sustainable future of retail:

“While supermarkets have a long way to go, it is encouraging to see the use of single-use plastics beginning to be reduced in the UK. This is helping us as a society take major steps towards creating a more sustainable future for the food retail sector, and retail across the board. It is imperative that other retailers take heed of this and work quickly to establish their own sustainability goals and action plan. 

Implementing mobile technology, such as that provided by Ubamarket, is one effective way for retailers to get ahead of the curve – not only can it improve in-store efficiency and provide access to useful data for the retailer, but Ubamarket’s Plastic Alerts feature allows customers to shop according to the recyclability and environmental footprint of different products, and enables the customer to scan packaging for information on whether it can be widely recycled or not. We have also shown that customers spend 21% more on their shop using Ubamarket’s technology, but less of their shopping goes to waste as they purchase more of what they consume most. 

It is my hope that we see more sustainability initiatives in the coming weeks and months, and I would strongly encourage retailers to look into the benefits of mobile technology, for sustainability and increased success.”

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