14 November 2006

Leave Excess Food Packaging At Checkout

It's ok. A government minister is telling you to do it.

Environment minister Ben Bradshaw is telling shoppers to leave excessive wrapping at the tills and report stores to trading standards in an attempt to cut the amount of unnecessary plastic sent to landfill sites.

Packaging has increased by 12% between 1999 and 2005, and now accounts for one-third of an average household's total waste.

But, why should supermarkets make changes? The maximum fine that can be levied under existing laws on "essential packaging requirements" is £5,000, and Bradshaw is giving supermarkets until 2010 to make voluntary changes.

Packaging has increased by 12% over 6 years, so he'll give them 4 more years to make changes. And the Guardian describes this as a "hardline" approach. Incredible.

What is needed, when we go for a shop, is to adopt a zero waste approach:

- Bring a rucksack. Bring a canvass bag. Save up plastic bags from previous shops.
- Avoid over-packaged goods. If enough of us avoid them, the market signal will be to stock tomatoes loose in a bin, not in some sort of black plastic tray.
- When you're comparing goods, think about how you could recycle what you buy ... i.e. buy products in glass, rather than plastic.

7 comments:

Sue Luxton said...

It's a good start, though it would have been better still if he had said 'supermarkets are bad, shop locally and support an organic box scheme instead' but I suspect Lord Sainsbury and his cohorts would not have been best pleased if Ben Bradshaw had said that!

Sue Luxton said...

Hi Scott
How did you adjust the settings on your blog to say 'This blog does not allow anonymous comments'? I'm sick of getting anonymous comments by (I think) Libd Dem cllrs, not to mention the irritating spam ones.

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