Marks & Spencer is facing a backlash from customers for its excessive use of plastic packaging – despite promising to become the greenest retailer in Britain.
The supermarket was criticized by shoppers as well as environmentalists for its delivery policy that included small, single-use items such Christmas foods, and even plastic bags.
Lorna Stolgess shared a photo on Twitter that showed three different items packed in separate boxes. She wrote, “Why Why why?” This kind of negates the reason I would buy recycled wrapping paper. Everything in my order wasn’t fragile.
Jon Hitch, another customer complained about an order and wrote, “Such a waste. Seven bags turning out today for a single order online.
Lorna Sturgess posted a photograph on Twitter showing three items packaged in three separate boxes and wrote: ‘Why why why?! It defeats all the purpose of buying recycled wrapping paper if you pack it in a mountain of plastic. My order contained nothing fragile.
Others that are being criticized include the small piece of cake packaged in plastic containers and packaging used for holiday food.
But it was ten posh cheesy beans on toast, costing £5, that caused the most upset. On social media one person wrote: “You’ve gone to far.”
Another complained to M&S: ‘This is taking the Michael. Packaging is disgraceful, but what about the environment. Also, the price is absurd. Is this how it got onto your shelves?
Environmental campaigners accused M&S of being out of touch. Lisa Gibson from Low Waste Weekly said that she agreed with shoppers’ anger. As individuals, we can only avoid this excess.
There has also been irritation at M&S selling underwear with plastic hangers. “There is so much you can do. Kate Potter, a social media shopper, suggested cardboard hangers and paper bags as well as cotton label connectors.
A customer also complained about the fact that 2 packs of school shirts came with 18 plastic pieces and an outer bag with plastic hangers. “Why is this so expensive? There shouldn’t have been 8 cardboard sheets included. It’s excessive,’ said the mother, who also questioned why a £10 lampshade needed non-recyclable bubble wrap, three more layers of plastic and its own cardboard box.
Shoppers have demanded the company explain how such examples fit with ‘Plan A’, a sustainability plan launched by M&S in 2007 with a goal to ‘only use plastic in our business where it has a clear and demonstrable benefit’.
But environmental campaigners accused M&S of being out of touch. Lisa Gibson of Low Waste Weekly stated that she agrees with the outrage expressed by shoppers. As individuals, we can only limit our consumption of this waste. The environment is at risk if retailers don’t think twice about the products they have on shelves.
M&S said it had topped the reduced use of plastic category in a Supermarket Plastic League table compiled by Greenpeace, adding: ‘M&S is committed to being a fully net zero business by 2040, with all our food packaging being recyclable by the end of next year and 30 per cent of our plastic food packaging removed completely by 2027.’