United Kingdom

Shops sold 2.5 BILLION bottles of water in 2019 as tide of plastic shows no sign of slowing down

The flood of plastic pouring out of Britain’s stores shows no signs of abating, with research revealing that the ten biggest supermarkets sold 2.5billion plastic bottles of water in 2019.

A report by Greenpeace UK and the Environmental Investigation Agency shows big stores sold the equivalent of 37 plastic water bottles for every person in the UK that year.

According to the data, Tesco was the biggest seller of bottled water in 2019, shifting more than 801million, followed by Sainsbury’s, which sold 314million.

A report revealed the ten biggest supermarkets sold 2.5billion plastic bottles of water in the UK in 2019, as pressure mounts on stores to cut back on plastic. Picture: Stock

Greenpeace called on supermarkets to banish the plastic and introduce free water refill stations for shoppers with reusable bottles.

 The newly-available 2019 data shows that the top ten retailers sold 1.25 billion own-brand plastic water bottles in 2019, plus 1.21 billion branded plastic water bottles in the same year.

Nina Schrank, senior plastics campaigner, Greenpeace UK said: ‘Thousands of businesses and institutions across the world have already shown that it’s perfectly easy to stop stocking disposable plastic water bottles.

‘There’s no reason why retailers cannot join the club.

‘Reusable water bottles are already a part of everyday life for millions of people, who refill at taps and water fountains.

‘If supermarkets are serious about reducing their plastic footprint, then dropping plastic water bottles and installing free water refill stations would be a big step forward.’

She added ‘Plastic bottles and lids are the most common type of litter on our coastline, and particles of plastic have been found in every ocean and every river that has been tested.

The data from Greenpeace UK and Environmental Investigation Agency showed Tesco was the biggest seller of bottled water in 2019. Picture: Stock

‘It’s high time real, effective action on plastic packaging began, and supermarkets can make huge cuts to water bottle waste.

‘There’s no excuse for selling billions of throwaway water bottles when there are already reusable, refillable solutions available that can work at scale.’

The Daily Mail has long called for a reduction in the amount of plastic that ends up polluting the environment, with the Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign, and is calling for the introduction of a deposit scheme on bottles, which the government has promised in England for 2023.

Christina Dixon, senior ocean campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said: ‘You would think from their public statements that the big supermarkets had a handle on this problem by now, but these numbers tell a very different story. For a plastic item where clear solutions exist to drive reduction, reuse and recycling, we would expect to see widespread systems in stores by now.

‘As long as the volume of single use plastic bottles being made and sold stays this high, we’ll keep seeing them turn up where they aren’t wanted, everywhere from beaches and hedges to the stomachs of wild animals.’

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