No more PVC at M&S

Marks and Spencer has announced that it is to remove polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic from all of its products and packaging.

The retailer announced its decision, which was made in response to growing environmental concerns surrounding the manufacture and disposal of PVC (see related story), on 8 February. It said that PVC would no longer feature in packaging from the end of 2002.

“We have been reviewing the current and future environmental needs of our customers and have highlighted a number of issues with regard to the use of PVC,” said Rowland Hill, Environmental Affairs Manager at Marks & Spencer. “Despite the significant improvements being made by the PVC industry, we do not believe that our current concerns can be resolved satisfactorily. We are particularly aware that many of our uses of PVC have only a short intended useful life before they are sent for disposal and this is of particular concern. As a result we intend to replace all packaging applications of PVC by the end of 2002.”

Marks & Spencer has made a commitment to replace all other uses of PVC as part of a managed phase out programme as suitable alternative materials are identified. The company will announce specific phase-out dates for our other uses of PVC plastic in due course.

PVC has, for many years, been linked with a wide range of environmental concerns. Most of these concerns are centred on the possible release of chemicals when items made from PVC are sent for disposal and to a lesser extent, when the PVC material is manufactured.

The possible causes of pollution and risks linked with the disposal of PVC have been discussed recently in a series of reports and a Green Paper published by the European Commission (see related story).

Marks and Spencer’s decision was welcomed by environmental groups, including Greenpeace.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie