Sustainable supermarkets

Read an article about how some supermarkets have become more environmentally friendly to practise and improve your reading skills.

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Reading text

Many of the major supermarket chains have come under fire with accusations of various unethical acts over the past decade. They've wasted tonnes of food, they've underpaid their suppliers and they've contributed to excessive plastic waste in their packaging, which has had its impact on our environment.

But supermarkets and grocers are starting to sit up and take notice. In response to growing consumer backlash against the huge amounts of plastic waste generated by plastic packaging, some of the largest UK supermarkets have signed up to a pact promising to transform packaging and cut plastic wastage. In a pledge to reuse, recycle or compost all plastic wastage by 2025, supermarkets are now beginning to take some responsibility for the part they play in contributing to the damage to our environment, with one major supermarket announcing their plan to eliminate all plastic packaging in their own-brand products by 2023.

In response to criticisms over food waste, some supermarkets are donating some of their food surplus. However, charities estimate that they are only accessing two per cent of supermarkets' total food surplus, so this hardly seems to be solving the problem. Some say that supermarkets are simply not doing enough. Most supermarkets operate under a veil of secrecy when asked for exact figures of food wastage, and without more transparency it is hard to come up with a systematic approach to avoiding waste and to redistributing surplus food.

Some smaller companies are now taking matters into their own hands and offering consumers a greener, more environmentally friendly option. Shops like Berlin's Original Unverpakt and London's Bulk Market are plastic-free shops that have opened in recent years, encouraging customers to use their own containers or compostable bags. Online grocer Farmdrop eliminates the need for large warehouses and the risk of huge food surplus by delivering fresh produce from local farmers to its customers on a daily basis via electric cars, offering farmers the lion's share of the retail price.

There is no doubt that we still have a long way to go in reducing food waste and plastic waste. But perhaps the major supermarkets might take inspiration from these smaller grocers and gradually move towards a more sustainable future for us all.

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Language level

C1 English level (advanced)

Submitted by ACGC on Tue, 14/06/2022 - 20:47


I think that there are many ways to help the environment by supermarkets, like avoid plastic bags, this example its applying now in México and USA, maybe its a little step but we need to begin with something. I'm sure that there are many ways to leave a positive environmental fingerprint. But in the otherhand is incredible the amount of food wasted by supermarkets, I think that it needs a law which regulates them. There are many people who really need something to eat and this bussines have in their hands a solution.

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Submitted by Hennadii on Tue, 30/11/2021 - 14:50


There is always something to do and huge business has to play the main role in positive changes in the world. Because, as Peter Parker's (aka Spider-Man) uncle said - The great power is the great responsibility ))
First of all, they should reduce product wasting. Every day in my nearest supermarkets I see on shelves products with ending terms. Some days they sell them at discount and after that just rid of them.
I think supermarkets must better predict the required amount of goods, use statistics or organize feedback from customers.
The other point waste of packages. We use too much plastic and paper to pack goods. Lion's part of these packages is not recycled and becomes garbage on our planet. I think we should seriously reduce the number of plastic and paper packages by forcing customers to reuse the same package. For example, by selling eggs only in customers' egg trays.
The same method could be used for green groceries and candies or so.
Anyway, I'm sure there are lots of ways to make our planet better and we have to use all of them.

Submitted by Suraj paliwal on Wed, 27/10/2021 - 07:28


Supermarkets can do many things. As they should give food who is really needs it. Many charity are doing business in the name charity.this is wrong. Supermarkets set up own team to pursue this things.

Submitted by Andrea Valencia on Fri, 13/08/2021 - 16:34

I think that supermarkets and shops should no longer sell plastic bags, only reusable bags. I think we should buy directly from the producers. We should not eat junk food anymore.
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Submitted by venabulum on Thu, 13/05/2021 - 20:19

First of all, they should share surplus food with people who really need it. Secondly, they should set up an automatic heat and light system so their buildings would use only that amount resources that its really have to. Finally, retailers should enhance the educational side of their activity and show customers how to recycle and reuse things.
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Submitted by danisep on Tue, 27/04/2021 - 15:18

I think that there are various ways to help the environment by supermarkets, like change diesel or gasoline Transport vehicles for electric ones or use solar panels and batteries In its premises and paper bags among others, I'm sure that there are many ways to leave a positive environmental fingerprint. but something that got my attention was the amount of food wasted by supermarkets, I think that it needs a law which regulates them. there are many people who really need something to eat.

Submitted by Ehsan on Tue, 23/03/2021 - 06:20

They can reduce the energy they use for lighting and heating the shop. Also, they can eliminate receipts that they give to customers and send SMS instead of it.

Submitted by AbdelMarokko on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 07:44

For the first time when i read the first paragraph, the text begin with a large problems that faces all supermarkets over the world, for example underpayments, so i wish i read more a bout resolving this problem too

Submitted by Thomas Alva on Tue, 01/12/2020 - 08:20

it feels so good to see that some people aware of the fact that protection of our environment is important.And ım supporting these markets. and if ı could remove something from the markets it would be spray deodorants.If u read this do a good thing and please stop using spray deodorants for our beautiful environment.

Submitted by Loveandpeace on Mon, 06/07/2020 - 16:31

Personally, I think supermarkets should stop having grocery plastic bags so each person has to bring your own bag. Another option is to make paper bags available for people to purchase at the supermarket. In the USA, some supermarkets are doing that already. The customers have two options: bring their own bags or purchase paper bags at the store.

Submitted by cadu on Wed, 17/06/2020 - 01:15

The supermarkets should support local vendors for reduce their CO2 footprint. To work for develop packagings reusable and without plastic and less ink. To improve the use of renewable energies in their warehouses, like solar and hire people that live in the neighborhoods where they are located.

Submitted by Hai994 on Sun, 14/06/2020 - 20:34

The most important thing to reduce using plastics is that everyone should take responsibility to reduce the use of plastics because we all live on this planet. Then the government must take control of this problem by pushing the supermarket to reduce consuming the plastics.

Submitted by Aam33 on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 22:56

Plastic waste is the worst enemy of the world in recent times, particularly in the developing countries, where waste management companies do business more than their fundamental mandate. Banning the use of plastic is the best way to go or imposing huge taxes on its usage to serve as disincentive for it.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Tue, 26/05/2020 - 14:22

They should improves more on their social responsibility services to stakeholders in their environment.

Submitted by om mariam on Tue, 12/05/2020 - 09:28

I think buying groceries should be directly from the local farmer, this will grantee a healthy fresh product for the consumers and a fair price for the suppliers. A deterrent law should be applied to eliminate the use of plastic in supermarkets and other shops as well.

Submitted by heeyoungkim on Fri, 13/03/2020 - 10:44

Some stores in South Korea do not issue the paper print, they replace it as electronic receipts using the smartphone application.
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Submitted by Steve Zarv on Sat, 25/01/2020 - 05:46

It seems to me that the root of the problem lies mostly in the providers who furnish the products rather than the supermarkets themselves. Likewise, these franchises have to be rigorous with their choices, taking it for granted that just the mere change of the product package would implie necessarily that they have to resort for a redesign, which is ultimately worth an outrageous amount of money that they hazard losing, because after all, regardless the situation, they're still competing in the industry game. It Is conceivable that, on the other hand, there is indeed ulterior motives at the prospect of monetary benefits. However, the fact of the matter is that the problem is not something that would be settled by sheer happenstance, not while the profits are at stake.
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Submitted by Rabin on Mon, 02/12/2019 - 13:40

Plastic packaging just sucks honestly. Yeah, it's easy to put it in there in bulk, but it's not eco-friendly at all. Atleast make it bio-degradeble or something like that.
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Submitted by Caterina Siligardi on Thu, 03/10/2019 - 23:22

Every time I come fromthe supermarket ,I feel really frustrated cause the lot of plastic which I bring to home. Ther's also to say that there's a whole economic system based upon the plastical materials . We hope that the good examples take new behaviours.

Submitted by RobRoy on Tue, 02/04/2019 - 16:26

Plasic bags are going to be forbiden in Georgia untill next year. More countries should take the same measures. Also the era of disposables is coming to its end it would be nice to get rid of them from from grosery shelves now.