On 19th December 2017 the House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published their Disposable Packaging: Coffee Cups and Plastic Bottles report. Ask the Q submitted two pieces of written evidence in support of their inquiry - one on reusable cups, the other on shrink sleeve labels hindering plastic bottle recycling.
On 30th April 2017 the House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published a report on food waste in England that included Ask the Q's research on how supermarkets' meat freezing guidelines are contributing to the problem.
In February 2017 an Ask the Q poll found florists to be importing Mother's Day flowers from water-stressed countries and a widespread lack of transparency in cut flower supply chains.
In February 2017 The Independent covered an Ask the Q survey of 61 restaurant, pub, cafe fast food chains, which revealed a dearth of corporate engagement on the responsible use of antibiotics in their meat supply chains. In March 2017 Share Action included the survey in their latest Investor Report on antibiotics use in the restaurant sector.
In September 2016 The Observer reported on an Ask the Q survey of 9 retailers' own brand seafood, which found insufficient information indicated on the packaging for consumers to independently assess the sustainability of the product.
An Ask the Q investigation in August 2016 was covered by The Telegraph and The Daily Mail; it found that the majority of grocery retailers in the UK are providing misleading freezing guidelines on their own brand fresh meat produce, leading to entirely avoidable food waste.
Ask the Q research published in The Times in June 2016 revealed that major wet wipe brands and retailers are refusing to remove 'flushable' from their packaging, despite appeals from water companies because they are causing expensive blockages.
A selection of company responses is listed below. The 'promising' ones are those that point to a potential change in policy while the 'not so promising' demonstrate the complete absence of accountability that is often evident at the point of sale as well as an insight into the company policies and practices that need to be challenged. This page will be regularly updated.
Peppa Pig commits to removing 'flushable' from its wet wipes packaging in 2017
L'Occitane have stopped using micro-beads in their products and the few remaining products containing them will have them removed by the end of 2017
Marks & Spencer told me they will look into the possibility of asking customers to hand in plastic 'frame hangers' for their jumpers, at the point of sale, to reduce waste
Ella's Kitchen agreed to feed back to their supplier an idea to remove unnecessary and hard-to-recycle polystyrene from their baby fruit pouches bulk packaging
A hotel chain in Inverness are now going to review their use of wasteful single-use plastic shower gel and shampoo bottles, as they don't currently offer refillable containers
Wagamamas in Glasgow said they 'might' change their policy on automatically dishing out straws in all their drinks, whether or not they are used, if enough customers ask them to
Not so promising
A survey of 61 restaurant, pub, cafe and fast food chains finds that 87% make no mention online about the responsible use of antibiotics across their meat supply chains
Ten major wet wipes brands and retailers have refused to remove the word 'flushable' from their packaging, despite appeals from water companies because wipes cause expensive blockages
A straw poll of 28 major restaurant chains revealed only 2/28 know how much added sugar their meals contain; almost 1/3 couldn't give us any nutritional information at all
Eurostar are keen to talk about how much of their on-board disposable packaging is recyclable but were unable to tell me how much of their on-board packaging waste is recycled
Starbucks couldn't tell me if the soy for their soy milk was grown sustainably; they referred me to their supplier Alpro, who would 'have the knowledge to assist' me
Caffe Ritazza told me they throw out their pastries and sandwiches after six hours if they haven’t been bought, even though they are wrapped and/or refrigerated
A sales assistant at sandwich chain Subway told me their tuna was sourced from 'blue tins'
Tesco has said to me that they won't stock recycled aluminium foil because 'customers think it's dirty'. Which customers? How many of them? I didn't get an answer