EuroCommerce, which represents Europe's retail and wholesale sector, has said that the European Commission's new plastics strategy is a 'welcome step towards a more circular economy'.
Earlier this week, the commission launched the first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, with the aim of ensuring that all packaging in the EU market is reusable or recyclable by 2030.
Speaking on behalf of the industry, EuroCommerce said that retailers are committed to the environment and believe that this strategy will also bring new opportunities.
“With 25 million tonnes of plastic waste generated annually in the EU and less than a third being collected for recycling, there is a real need to improve the sustainability of how we use and dispose of plastic," said Christian Verschueren, director-general of EuroCommerce.
"Properly designed plastic packaging helps to ensure food safety and reduce food waste, but we need to ensure that this is compatible with avoiding damage to the environment, and do so both in an effective, and a cost-effective way.”
EuroCommerce has welcomed the commission's initiative to act on single-use plastic in an effort reduce pollution, but says that new frameworks are needed to help the industry implement these plans.
"To safeguard the Single Market, we need to define a consistent framework at EU level,” Verschueren added.
Ahead of the European Commission's announcement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May outlined her government's 25-year plan for reducing waste and tackling climate change, with a strong focus on plastic packaging.
In a speech made last week, May pledged to eliminate all 'avoidable' plastic waste by 2042, and proposed extending the levy on plastic bags and introducing plastic-free aisles in supermarkets.
Several supermarkets and packaging companies have already made statements about their efforts to reduce waste, including frozen food retailer Iceland, which pledged that its private-label range will be plastic-free by 2023.
However, an investigation by The Guardian, published yesterday, revealed that the country's supermarkets currently create nearly one million tonnes of plastic packaging waste each year.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.