Britain leads Europe in eliminating plastic waste at supermarkets, but campaigners warn that the situation is still ‘abysmal’.
More than 130 retailers across 13 European countries were quizzed in three categories – transparency and performance, commitments, and support for government policy – and given a percentage rating.
Retailers from the UK achieved an average of 39.6% and the French retailers scored 23.3%, the two best-performing nations.
No other country achieved a total average of more than 20%. The average score achieved by retailers in Spain, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Estonia was below 10%.
The analysis was undertaken by the Changing Markets Foundation, the lead organisation within the Break Free from Plastic Movement.
The overall average score achieved by retailers across three categories was only 13.1 points (out of 100) or 13%.
Only two companies exceeded 60%, forming the top of the table. These companies are Aldi in the UK with 65.3%, and Aldi in Ireland with 61%, according to researchers.
The rest of the highest-scoring companies were significantly behind, with Lidl in the UK with 44.7%, Carrefour in France with 41.7% and the French organic supermarket BioCoop with 37% making up the top five.
The report states: “Plastic pollution has been overwhelming ecosystems, affecting wildlife, exacerbating the climate crisis and interfering with our health.
“Barely a week passes without another horrific fact emerging about the devastating toll that plastic takes on the planet and its inhabitants.
“So far in 2022 alone, we have discovered microplastics deep in the lungs of living people, in the tissue of patients undergoing surgery and in people’s blood.
“We learnt that the chemicals found in everyday plastics are eating away at human fertility such that they may make unassisted reproduction impossible by 2040.
“Despite the outrage, coordinated action and mounting pressure from across all sectors of society – from NGOs, legislators and consumers – the amount of plastic that the plastic industry is placing on the market is growing and on a ‘business as usual’ trajectory this is even projected to skyrocket.”
The report recommends retailers should be transparent and disclose the plastic footprint of their own brand and branded plastic products, as well as set consistent targets across all markets in which they operate.
European supermarkets (’best to worst’):
Marks & Spencers (UK)
Systeme U (France)
Aldi Sud (Germany)
Lidl (Czech Republic)
Aldi Nord (Germany)
Aldi Nord (France)
Ahold Delhaize (Netherlands)
Jeronimo Martins (Portugal)
Aldi Nord (Belgium)
Aldi Nord (Netherlands)
Lidl and Kaufland (Germany)
Aldi Nord (Spain)
Ahold Delhaize (Czech Republic)
El Corte Ingles (Spain)
Billa (Czech Republic)
Coop (Czech Republic)
Penny (Czech Republic)
Tesco (Czech Republic)