Open Statement to Sainsbury's
Lambeth Friends of the Earth and the Plastic Free communities across Lambeth are uniting as we have noticed in recent weeks that the majority of the eggs available in Sainsbury's Superstores are packaged in plastic containers instead of the usual cardboard packaging.
This appears to be a relatively recent change, and we were hoping that Sainsbury’s could explain the rationale for this, and also hoping that they might reconsider their decision. Although we are aware Covid-19 caused a break in their supply chain leading to a shortage of wood pulp, we think that switching to plastic cartons is an unadapted solution.
We know that Sainsbury's has made a commitment to halve plastic by 2025, both in its own-brand products and across the business. We feel that this target is nowhere near ambitious enough and that Sainsbury's should be looking to eliminate the use of single-use plastics by 2025.
However, even with a less ambitious target like this in place, we are concerned that switching the packaging of Sainsbury's own-brand egg products to plastic is counter-productive. We know they have made great donations to the Woodland Trust in recent years. We appreciate and encourage such initiatives but believe switching back to plastic packaging epitomises the ineffectual strategies too often implemented by leading organisations.
As they know, every aspect of the global economy is connected, either directly or indirectly, to the world's oceans. The current production of plastic and plastic pollution in our waters are serious problems as they represent a threat of destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity. It is now crucial to reduce plastic packaging and promote a circular economy to protect ocean health and rebuild biodiversity.
In the last couple of years, Plastic Free communities and Lambeth Friends of the Earth have seen this issue grow in prominence, with many people approaching us to get involved in campaigning against plastic pollution. We know that this is an issue that people from all walks of life care about, but that they feel powerless to change something until the supermarkets step up and show leadership. We are concerned that Sainsbury’s is not living up to this.
Furthermore, we are concerned that the ‘Taste the Difference' line of more expensive and higher-quality eggs still appears to be packaged in cardboard, while it's the cheaper ranges that have been changed into plastic packaging. We know that lower-income communities want to do their part to reduce plastic waste, and feel frustrated that they are often priced out of alternatives to plastic. We feel it is unacceptable for Sainsbury's to make poorer families choose between buying affordable products and making the right decision for our planet. Especially when it is the most disadvantaged in our society and around the world who will feel the effects of climate change first and hardest.
We would be interested to hear from Sainsbury's:
- When the decision was taken to change several of their egg products from cardboard to plastic packaging
- Why the decision was taken to change several of their egg products from cardboard to plastic packaging
- Whether they would be willing to commit to reversing this decision and develop more suitable strategies in line with their commitments.
Lambeth FoE & Plastic Free Lambeth