12 Months of Sustainable Living / Plastic

5 Inspiring Companies Fighting Single Use Plastic

5 Companies Fighting Single Use Plastic

Slowly the world is waking up to the plastic crisis we are facing. In the midst of this awakening are a handful of companies that have started taking steps to reduce plastic waste. As consumers we can make the changes in our lives as best we can, but we need the support from companies like these to make a far reaching impact.

These are 5 Inspiring Companies that have stepped up the plastic fight alongside us as consumers:

1. Supermarkets – Pick n Pay (South Africa)& M&S (UK)

Supermarkets are the biggest culprits when it comes to single use plastic. Everything we buy at supermarkets is wrapped in plastic and even if we try to choose the unpackaged fruit and veg, they end up being stickered. Smaller green grocers and markets are a great alternative, bu tlet’s be honest, we don’t all have access to these and spending your whole weekend trekking between 5 different shops for your weekly groceries is not something all of us can or want do. So, when two of the biggest supermarket chains in the UK and South Africa announced that they are going to help consumers cut down on single use plastic, it’s amazing news!

Pick ‘n Pay

South African supermarket chain Pick ‘n Pay announced last week that they will be launching a pilot program in their Western Cape stores of a reusable carrier bag to be used for their lose potatoes and onions. The bag itself will be only R7.50 and customers can also bring their own bags to use. Read the rest of the article here.

M&S

M&S is taking on the plastic wave from two sides. Their Westfield Stratford City store has now started encouraging customers to bring their non-recyclable plastic back to the store and throw it in the bin outside the store. This plastic will then be used to make new playground equipment for schools across Newham. You can read more about the initiative here. M&S Tolworth in South-West London is also launching a line of more than 90 different lose fruit and veg for customers to choose from. Greengrocers will also be on hand in the new lose fruit isles to weight and give advice. Read more on the new concept store here.

Plastic free shopping using your own bags is slowly becoming a reality.
Plastic free shopping using your own bags like these string ones, is slowly becoming a reality even at Supermarkets

TerraCycle’s Loop Program

TerraCycle is a British recycling program with a difference and now they have made international acclaim with their newly announced Loop Program. Through their Closed-Loop Program, they work with organisations to create closed-loop products, meaning the products can be recycled or reused after their original purpose has been completed, but never simply thrown away. January at the World Economic Forum in Davos they announced that their Loop Program will be partnering with a number of big corporations to create closed-loop packaging. Companies that will be working with them include Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Beiersdorf and more. Read more about the initiative and where it’s being rolled out here.

Samsung to Stop Using Plastic Packaging

In early February, electronics company Samsung announced that they will be starting to take the necessary steps to remove plastic packaging from their products. Some of the interesting changes they are looking to make include removing the plastic film from charger cases that make it nice and glossy and leave these matt. From early 2019 they will also be replacing holder trays with ones made from pulp and only use FSC certified paper going forward. This is a step in the right direction that other tech companies definitely should follow, read more here.

The Source Bulk Foods Battersea is a zero waste bulk store in London.
The Source Battersea is beautiful inside making bulk food shopping a new exciting experience

Zero Waste & Bulk Food Stores on the Rise in the UK and South Africa

Until all supermarkets turn the corner and provide us with opportunities to buy zero waste, we will keep on searching for alternatives. In this case it is the wonderful Bulk Food and Zero Waste Stores that are popping up all over the place. These stores are not only beautiful with a wide variety of products to choose from, from pasta to flour to shower gel, but they are also run by people who are passionate about making a difference. It takes some getting used to, and planning to measure out yourself how much you need and remembering to bring your containers, but the buying experience is just that, an experience. Grocery shopping at these stores becomes more than just another chore.

UK

Some of my favourites in the UK are The Source Bulk Food in Battersea and Bulk Market in Hackney. Both have a great atmosphere and variety. I keep on wishing they would open more stores.

South Africa

These stores seem to be concentrated in Cape Town in South Africa, which is a problem and we need more diverse locations, but never the less two great ones are Nude Foods and Shop Zero.

Bonus

I am happy to say for those in South Africa not living in the Cape, there is now also an online zero waste store called The Unwrapped Co.. This online store delivers all products in reusable glass jars and works on a deposit scheme. They sell everything from dried fruit to cooking oils to personal care. The selection available online is still small but it’s an amazing start and I’m hoping to see much more of them and will encourage all South African zero waste lovers to support The Unwrapped Co.

Ecover is a British company that produces household cleaning products in recycled plastic bottles
An Ecover ad in the Tube station in London

Recycled Plastic Packaging

I strongly believe that getting rid of plastic completely is not something we will ever be able to do, however, working smarter with plastic, and especially plastic packaging, is definitely achievable. Two of my favourite brands who have been doing just that are Ecover and Love Beauty and Planet. 

Ecover

Ecover no only has eco-friendly household products, but they are also aiming to have all their bottles be made from 100% recycled plastic by 2020. Currently, their new dishwashing liquid bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic and the bottle cap is made from 50% plastic polypropylene. All of their bottles can still be recycled as well. On top of this their bottles for their other products, like the kitchen and bathroom cleaning sprays, are made from durable plastic which can easily be reused, AND they have refill schemes set up at a number of stores across London. They are breaking the mould that cleaning products need to be in single use plastic in a big way.

Love Beauty and Planet

Love Beauty and Planet is probably my favourite beauty brand that I’ve discovered here in the UK. Not only are all their products vegan and animal cruelty free, they are also packaged in 100% post-consumer used recycled plastic. Unlike so many other sustainable and eco-friendly beauty brands that can only be purchased online or at very specific stores, Love Beauty and Planet is available at all major supermarkets, making it easy to access, and affordable as well! I believe this kind of plastic is sustainable in the beauty industry because it’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s easy, affordable and part of our every day lives.

Love Beauty and Planet has a range of wonderful beauty products in recycled plastic packaging
Love Beauty and Planet has a range of wonderful beauty products in recycled plastic packaging

Hi, I'm Andri. A 20-something creative, content creator, writer, reader, traveler, healthy living enthusiast and eco warrior! My day job is in digital publishing, but just like The Loud Library, I am full of contradictions. I love my bunny rabbit Olive, cows and sharing my journey to rediscover my spark.

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