As we all know, each time we go for our groceries and shopping to a (super)market one always returns home with a bunch of unnecessary plastic surrounding all the items we bought.

Items are individually packed in plastic, and when passing the cashier all of the stuff we bought is put in yet again another plastic bag… And it’s not only the single use plastic bags (in Montenegro about 600-750 per year per person) we take home with us. Plastic is omnipresent in the grocery supply chain. It doesn’t need much convincing to realize that all this plastic has a huge environmental and social impact. We can see one of the results every day on all river banks and fences around Montenegro! Plastics can be found in every corner of the country and it takes hundreds of years to decompose.

Supermarkets, with their unique position between suppliers and consumers, have a great opportunity  in leading both sides away from this continuous use of single use plastic and transform the society’s approach towards the use of plastics.

In order for the consumer to make an informed decision about where to buy and cause the least possible pressure on the environment while shopping for their groceries, ZWMNE will make a ranking listing the biggest retailers in Montenegro related to their practices and policies about the use of plastic packaging.

This ranking will be released after a thorough study in which ZWMNE will work together with the retailers in order to make a correct analysis on their use of plastic packaging. This will primarily be focused on the packaging of food products and the (over)usage of single use plastic bags to wrap the products over and over again.

Besides this, ZWMNE will also verify if the retailers have specific roadmaps and goals in which they plan to phase out and/or eliminate certain uses of plastic from the products and in their respective shops.

After gathering all the necessary information and making of the ranking, ZWMNE shall also formulate a list of demands and objectives for each supermarket chain in order to rise in the ranking and progress to a situation in which single use plastic packaging is reduced to the absolute minimum.

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01/12/2019 Update regarding the ranking project:

Our first contact letters to the local supermarket retailers were sent at the beginning of June, informing them about the current problematic situation regarding single use plastic packaging and the ranking project we are planning. This was followed up with a reminder and a second letter containing more information at the end of July.

Unfortunately there was absolutely no response what so ever from any of six retailers we’ve contacted…

The retailers are wrongly assuming that the existing problem is not urgent enough to take action, and there is not enough pressure towards more sustainable ways of packaging and reusable bags.

Therefore it regrets me to say that this project will be temporarily shelved until a later moment. We shall concentrate on raising awareness about the consequences of single use plastic packaging until the call for a change can no longer be neglected and the supermarkets will need to change their unsustainable habits!