US grocery stores and supermarkets are saturated with plastic and it’s almost impossible to do grocery shopping and avoid single-use plastic. Fruits and vegetables are packed in non-recyclable plastic clamshells or plastic bags; meat, fish, and poultry are packed in polystyrene trays with plastic wrap; bread, bagels, and cookies are packed in plastic bags; and so on and so forth…
According to the EPA, food containers and packaging generate more than 82 million tons of waste each year and the single-use plastic packaging in supermarkets ranks as the largest contributor to plastic waste.
In March of 2021, Greenpeace USA released its second ranking of 20 U.S. grocery retailers’ efforts to reduce single-use plastics, finding that all of the major supermarkets continue to fail to address the plastic pollution crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the problem with many retailers shifting back to single-use plastic bags and pausing initiatives to reduce plastic usage and waste.
Together we can change this!
Take 5 minutes of your time today, reach out to your favorite grocery store or supermarket, and ask them to commit to plastic reduction.
To help make this easier, we’ve drafted a sample letter at the end of this post that you can edit as you wish.
Target your favorite store through social media
Another effective way to get your favorite grocery store’s attention to the plastic problem is by posting a question or call to action on social media and tagging the company you want to take action.
Use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to tell what the company is doing wrong and what they can do to change it. Even better if you take a snapshot of some single-use plastic and attach it to your post.
Draft letter/email to your grocery store
Dear Grocery Store Manager,
Thank you for providing me with quality products at competitive prices. I have been shopping at your store for the past 5 years. However, I am extremely unsatisfied with the amount of plastic waste being generated after each grocery shopping trip. I’ve been working hard on cutting my carbon and plastic footprint and lessening my impact on the earth.
I am writing to you today to consider a plastic reduction in your grocery store. As a leading supermarket chain, you can make a difference. Here are a few suggestions:
- Stop selling plastic bags and encourage the usage of reusable bags and totes. If plastic alternatives will not be unavailable people will become more organized
It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately, the bags don’t break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.
- Request that producers you are ordering from consider changing packaging and using recyclable cardboard boxes instead of plastic clamshells. Or sell unwrapped produce.
- Consider adding a refilling station for such household stations as laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioners, and soaps.
[INSERT YOUR NAME]