As I walked through the entrance doors at the supermarket yesterday, I was greeted by a wave of single-use plastic. I felt like I was in the sea, I was choking on the plastic! I thought why are we doing this?
Straight a head there were a few bins of loose fruit & vegetables on special, with rolls of single-use plastic for you to take them home in.
Behind them a mixture of rows of bagged and loose fruit and vegetables. On the shelves more bags and plastic containers full of natural fruit and vegetables. Even corn that had the outer removed was shrunk-wrapped!
With my list in hand, I looked for package free options and what ever I can't get here, will be separate trip to the local grocer. After getting very little from the produce area, I wandered across to the bread section. As you can see by my photo above, things weren't looking good. If it was not in a plastic bag then it was in a plastic container. Even the french bread sticks were trapped in plastic! The loose items area behind the glass doors had about a 50/50 mix of plastic wrapped items. Below them the only option was a huge roll of plastic bags, no other options.
The next area was the deli, I thought this looked so much better until I'd seen the only option (unless you bring your own container) was a plastic pottle. The bulk bin area was also a disappointment with only plastic bags to fill.
Feeling a bit despondent as I headed through to the checkout area, with my own bags. I was greeted with towers with reusable bags and masses of 'emergency/reusable' plastic bags for sale. I'm thinking... these supermarkets are putting a sticking plaster over a large gaping festering wound.
Is/was the amount of single-use plastic checkout bags greater than the rest of the products that they wrap up in single-use plastic? Do they think we have blinkers on and won't notice? Do they think that filling your 'emergency' or their reusable bags (which are actually made from a type of plastic) with lots more in-store products in plastic is OK? I think I would call this Greenwashing!
I understand it's going to take a bit of time, but there are supermarkets out there (large ones) that are implementing changes. Well done! They have nude food isles, changed deli packaging to eco-friendly containers and supplying more eco- friendly products and packaging.
Why are they doing this?
Because they hopefully care about the environment and future as much as we do.
Because they can see that it's basic economic principles of supply/demand. They customers are changing and refuse to buy plastic wrapped products, but will buy product in eco-friendly or no packaging.
Because it's great advertising for the company
Although it may be costing them more than plastic packaging, customers are more likely to get on board and buy their product in eco or no packaging.
Because a sale is better than no sale!
So where do we go from here?
We take our own reusable bags/containers.
We try to buy minimal amounts of plastic wrapped items ( if we can't make it, buy it elsewhere unwrapped)
We recycle the soft plastics when that starts up again ( however that's another story about a sticking plaster)
We bulk buy from bulk food shops taking our own reusable containers and bags.
We buy from local greengrocers, markets, co-ops and bakeries who don't package in plastic.
We make it, grow it or swap/trade it, even sell it ( I know that's hard as I've been so busy this year, that only did half a garden this year!) Some things are easy to grow, like fruits. This year a wonderful friend made all my currants into jam in exchange for a few jars of it I'm hoping to have more time next year to help.
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