BRITA: #plasticfreechallenge - Can consumers last 48-hours without plastic?

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

With between five and 13 million tons of plastic ending up in our oceans each year, it’s time to take drastic action, says BRITA.

Earlier this year, Iceland announced​ it will be the first major UK retailer to eliminate plastic packaging for its own-brand products by 2023, and this week, Kraft Heinz confirmed all its packaging will be either recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. 

Circular economy

The US-based food and beverage firm said it will “aggressively pursue”​ alternatives to virgin plastics, and pledged to make its Heinz Tomato Ketchup Bottles “fully circular”​ by 2022.

Alternatives to hard-to-recycle packaging, such as single-use condiment packets, multi-laminate Capri Sun juice pouches and the packaging of individually wrapped Kraft Singles cheese, will all be included as part of the announcement.

Our collective industry has a massive challenge ahead of us with respect to packaging recyclability, end-of-life recovery and single-use plastics​,” said Bernardo Hees, CEO, Kraft Heinz.

According to the UK Local Government Association (LGA), only a third of plastic used for packaging household food in pots and trays can be recycled and it wants manufacturers to intervene, calling on industry to abandon the use of a “smorgasbord”​ of plastics used to package foods, from fruit and vegetables to yogurts, margarine and microwave meals. 

It claims 525,000 tons of plastic pots, tubs and trays are used by households every year and only 169,145 tons of that packaging can be recycled. 

The reason is food packaging consists of various polymers; the molecules that make up plastic, which need to be separated to remove low-grade and non-recyclable plastic such as polystyrene. 

Some packaging combines different plastics such as the body and lid of a yogurt pot, while fruit and vegetable punnets are made from three types of polymer. 

BRITA

With this in mind, BRITA set up the plastic-free challenge, in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), last month to see how many people can go plastic free for 48-hours to raise awareness of the issue.

Here in the video above, Jenny Eagle, senior editor of packaging & processing, William Reed Media, takes part in the #plasticfreechallenge, and we round up the comments from consumers on social media below, on Plastic Free July.

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