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The big companies trying to cut their plastic usage


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This Earth Day we're focusing on how to be more eco-friendly, but this isn't just important on an individual level, it's also important for businesses!

Of course, it's important to make changes in your day to day lives to try and help the environment, but why stop there? 

Why should we not also hold companies to account? Indeed, we should criticise them when they are wrong, request better from them, and reward them when they start making steps in the right direction.

It can be incredibly disappointing when you become more aware of the damage humans are inflicting on the planet, and change your lifestyle to reflect this, only to find yourself accidentally supporting companies who indulge in unnecessary and damaging behaviour.

As such, we thought we'd produce a list of the big-name companies who have made changes in the wake of increased public concern for the environment. 

1. Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee already recognises the importance of protecting the environment, as seen by their paper cups, which are made from card. As they proudly claim this card is "made of sustainable wood pulp from forests in northern Europe". However, their focus more recently has been on what happens to these cups when they leave the store. 

Despite their cups being recyclable, many still end up in landfills, which is why they have promised to put more effort into ensuring as many as possible are recycled. In fact, they have committed "to becoming the first ever coffee chain in the UK to recycle the same volume of cups as we put onto the market".

2. Starbucks

Water bottle company Soma and non-profit Parley have united to tackle the issue of plastic waste cluttering our oceans. Available exclusively at Starbucks, they have created a reusable glass water bottle whose neoprene sleeve is made from the equivalent of two polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles that have washed up on the shores of islands and coastal communities around the world.

It may be a small fix, but its a step in the right direction towards tackling the huge amount of plastic waste which is destroying oceans all over the world. 

Additionally, the company has finally pledged to create a recyclable coffe cup by 2021.

3. McDonald's, Pizza Express, Wagamama's and more

As public opinion has increasingly favoured environmentally friendly behaviour, some of the biggest companies around have chosen to change the way they do things. All Bar One, Costa Coffee, McDonald's, Pizza Express, Pret A Manger, Wagamama's and Wetherspoons have all removed or vowed to remove straws from their establishments, with a few exceptions still allowing them when specifically requested. 

4. The Marriott International and London City Airport

Much like the big food chains previously mentioned, these big name companies have also removed straws from their premises.

5. Waitrose, Iceland and Morrisons

Waitrose has also jumped on the anti-straw bandwagon, promising to remove all plastic straws from its shelves by the end of the year.

The supermarket went further still, promising to reduce plastic whenever possible, including removing black plastic food trays (which are known to be difficult to recycle).

Similarly, Morrisons has vowed to phase out drinking draws in its cafes and Iceland aims to be plastic free by 2023. They have already supported the introduction of deposit return scheme for plastic bottles. 

6. Tesco

Tesco has said that it aims to make all its packaging recyclable or compostable by 2025, though it already claims 78% of its packaging is recyclable. In addition, it hopes to halve the weight of packaging compared to 2007.

The company has also removed all polystyrene from its fish packaging, and has removed 92 tonnes of plastic just by replacing two layer plastic trays with one layer ones. 

7. Sainsbury's 

The supermarket has set a target to halve its packaging by 2020 (compared to 2005) and remove all plastic cotton buds, which are a major source of ocean plastic pollution, from its stores.

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