Which? Says M&S Tops List of Worst UK Supermarket for Packaging

by | Jun 29, 2009

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icecreampackagingDespite running a high-profile environmental campaign over the past two years, Marks & Spencer is ranked the supermarket with the worst packaging according to a new study, reports the Telegraph.

While Marks & Spencer (M&S) has made significant strides to improve its green credentials it lags behind Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons when it comes to packaging, according to the Which? packaging study.

Yet, in May, the supermarket reported after 12 months of charging for single-use food carrier bags, it cut the use of bags by 83 percent from 464 million to 77 million bags. The retailer also used around 3-7million two-liter bottles to make polyester, which is used in its homeware and bedding as well as in polyester garments and re-usable shopping bags.

The study finds that M&S packaging for bacon, mushrooms and ice cream are all heavier than rivals’ similar packaging.  The supermarket’s packaging, including the labels, totaled 415g, while Sainsbury’s came in the lightest at 369g, just below Tesco at 370g, reports the Telegraph.

The study concludes that supermarkets and manufacturers need to do more to cut out excess packaging, but supermarkets say that many of the most unpopular packaging — such as plastic around cucumbers — helps extends the shelf life of food.

In a statement to the Telegraph, Marks & Spencer said the study was flawed and it failed to take into account the amount of recycled material that was included in the packaging. The retailer aims to become carbon neutral by 2012 and send no waste to the landfill.

Which? also looked at how many plastic bags online supermarkets use when they deliver groceries to people’s homes. Tesco and Sainsbury’s came out worse, both using 14 bags for just 29 different items; the best performer was Waitrosedeliver.com, which used half the number, 7 bags, according to the newspaper.

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