Amid growing consumer pressure and a government push for reduction of single-use plastics so as to meet ambitious EU recycling targets for plastics and waste recycling by 2030, some Spanish supermarkets are beginning to make an effort to replace plastic bags and packaging on their shelves and at check-out counters.
But, according to environmental activist organization Greenpeace España, some of the biggest supermarket chains across Spain are not doing nearly enough.
In ranking of the top-eight supermarket chains’ efforts to reduce single-use plastics in their stores, Eroski and LIDL are doing better than average, Alcampo and ALDI slightly better than average, El Corte Inglés and Día below the average.
But, according to Greenpeace, two of the largest chains with stores across Spain, Mercadona and Carrefour, are failing miserably on a ranking scale of 1-to-10 in their efforts to cut back on throwaway plastic bags and packaging.
Clearly, not all supermarkets in Spain are rated in the study by the environmentalist campaigning NGO, with many of the smaller regional supermarket brands not included at all. The Valencian regional Mas y Mas chain, for example, this week announced it is replacing plastic bags in its fruit and vegetable department with mesh bags that are washable and re-usable.
And other supermarkets, including some national brands, are taking similar steps, with Greenpeace lauding Eroski’s introduction of reusable mesh bags in the fruit and veg section, Lidl’s replacing plastic with paper bags at the checkout counter and Aldi’s decision to no longer sell plastic cutlery, straws or disposable cups.
Carrefour, on the other hand, was criticized by Greenpeace for failing to meet its pledge to completely discontinue the use of plastic bags in its fruit and veg section by the end of 2019 and for simply replacing plastic packaging with other non-recyclable packaging materials.
Mercadona also gets poor marks from Greenpeace because of its continued offering of plastic bags as an option at the checkout counter along with paper or raffia. The NGO says the move has not amounted in significant reduction of plastics by the supermarket chain, which continues to use plastic bags in the fruit and veg and bakery sections and has increased the overall use of non-recyclable packaging through the new take-away food counters being installed in many of its stores.
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