Published: 06:00, 15 September 2020
| Updated: 11:57, 16 September 2020
A climate action group returned a trolley full of single use plastic items to a supermarket as part of its protest.
East Kent Climate Action (EKCA) staged the demonstration outside Sainsbury's and Aldi in Deal on Friday.
Their aim is to force the chains to step up their response to single use plastics.
To make their point, they presented a trolley of packaging which had been collected by an eco-concious household of three during lockdown back to the Sainsbury's store.
It was accompanied with a letter to the manager asking him to "recycle the plastic responsibly" and "to find alternatives to plastic packaging now".
The group, which plans to continue its peaceful protests each Friday, then crossed the road to spread the message outside the doors of Aldi.
Spokesman Helen O'Brien said: "We were welcomed by the duty manager of Sainsbury's who spent time with us and and empathised with our concerns.
"He agreed to find out for us what happens to the plastic that Sainsburys themselves send off for recycling as figures show that only 9% of plastic ever gets properly recycled.
"He also accepted back my unwanted, single use plastic packaging from Sainsburys.
"I explained to him that the trolley full was just from one household of three people over lockdown, and we are a family that tries hard not to buy plastic, but for many products there is simply no other choice than single use plastic!
"We have already switched to milk in glass bottles delivered to our door, no longer buy water in plastic bottles or plastic cat food pouches etc, always buying food in glass or cardboard wherever possible.
"We also have a vegetable box weekly farm delivery to avoid plastic packaging but still cannot avoid using single use plastic if we wish to eat."
Both Sainsbury's and Aldi's current pledge is to reduce single plastic use by 50% by 2025 but campaigners say this is not enough.
Ms O'Brien continued: "We do not feel that the improvements are not being made fast enough in the current state of Climate Emergency, as recognised by many bodies around the country including our local Deal and Dover Town Councils.
"We feel that Sainsbury's has a long way to go and should be aiming for a 100% reduction by 2025 in single use plastic.
"Plastic waste is poisoning our land and seas. Microplastics in the natural environment are a total nightmare that we haven't even scratched the surface in dealing with yet, poisoning insects, animals and ultimately humans.
"This has to stop now and companies who profit from the use of single use plastic must take responsibility for this."
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We’re committed to halving the amount of plastic packaging we use by 2025 and this is just one of a wide range of steps we are taking to reduce our impact on the environment.”
An Aldi spokesperson said: “As well as committing to halving plastic packaging by 2025, we are also working hard to ensure all of our own label packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2022.
“We’ve already made good headway with removing and replacing avoidable plastics across our product range and have removed over 6,600 tonnes of plastics to date”.