Selfridges is one of the most prolific department stores in the world, established in 1906 by Mr Harry Gordon Selfridge, the business has expanded into one of the biggest stores in London, providing not only fashion, cosmetics and homeware but food too. In recent news Selfridges have decided to ban plastic water bottles from sale and the British Plastics Federation (BPF) are dismayed by this decision.
The well renowned department store has announced its attempt to tackle marine litter by replacing their plastic water bottles with water fountains. This will enable customers to refill their own containers instead of the department store selling plastic bottles.
Alannah Weston, deputy chairman of Selfridges Group, said: "We aim to drive awareness of the serious threat plastic poses to our oceans."
However, Philip Law, the BPF's director general has voiced his opinion, saying: "The availability of water in portable, lightweight bottles promotes good health and can be critical in emergency situations. Plastic products do not litter themselves onto our streets or into our oceans, people do."
In addition to this, Law commented on the positive progress being made in plastic bottle recycling, saying: "During 2014, nearly 60% of PET plastic bottles in the household waste stream were collected for recycling. We all need to ensure that recycling rates continue to grow and we urge people to recycle their plastic bottles and not discard them as litter. The only way we can truly tackle littering is not by indiscriminately banning products but through on-going behavioural change programmes."
BPF believe that the issues surrounding litter can only be addressed by changing consumer behaviour:
"The Plastics Industry fully supports public campaigns against littering and sponsors a number of on-the-go recycling initiatives to help people dispose of their empty bottles and encourage sustainability."
A spokesperson for the Natural Hydration Council also spoke out about Selfridges decision, saying: "Bottled water represents approximately 18 per cent of the packaged soft drinks market and has the lowest environmental impact of all soft drinks. All plastic bottles are 100 per cent recyclable."
Selfridges is not only in London but in Birmingham and Manchester too where they will still continue to sell other drinks in plastic bottles, while mineral water will be sold in glass bottles or in Tetra-Paks. The reusable bottles for customers wanting to use the water fountains include a designer BKR model costing up to £28.