It feels like a major turning point has been reached in what some call the ‘war on plastic’. But it’s not just plastic – plastic in oceans is the front line, the visible part. It’s actually more a case of using this moment of public consciousness, aided by Blue Planet II and the UN Environment Assembly meeting in Nairobi this week (which is a manifestation of their own ‘declaration of war on plastic’ back in February).
The decisions with the greatest impact in our view are those made by brands and retailers. In February, Coca Cola announced it would be supporting a deposit return scheme in Scotland (which was pretty surprising to many old hands in the ‘recycling’ sector at the time). And just this week, Co-op has announced it too expects there to be a deposit return scheme and is preparing for it.
But the leadership shown by Pret a Manger in the UK this week in really tackling the disposable cup issue is warmly welcomed. You can find out more here – in essence, you’ll be able to get a great tasting cup of filter coffee for 49p from January 2018 if you bring your own mug with you. So make sure you put a refillable mug on your Christmas wish list (make sure it has a decent lid). This follows on from Pret’s announcement in October that they will offer free water refills in store.
We spoke to Pret two years ago about supporting refillables and it was an issue that was firmly in the ‘too difficult’ pile. Glad to see this has now changed.
These are the sorts of large, culture-changing steps that really turn the tide on plastic, and are thanks in no small part to the excellent work by our friends at Surfers Against Sewage. Well done.
In the words of The Doors: break on through…