In an effort to tackle plastic pollution, a group of Tesco shoppers in Keynsham, near Bristol, left excess packaging in shopping trolleys and lined up outside the shop to show that food can be bought without creating waste. Ditching plastic at the tills is a good way of letting supermarkets know that customers demand change.
Tony Mitchell organised the Tesco protest and said that “three huge trolleys” were filled with discarded plastic. He also said that the response from the supermarket was not at all “hostile”. “The manager was there and he was being distant but friendly and, from what one or two people said, he sort of agreed with this.”
Tesco is not the only supermarket that will be hit by this protest, Mitchell promises to do the same at the local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. “We’ll certainly be doing the other supermarkets in the town which have not been making as much effort as they might have done,” he said. “And I personally will be quite happy to just strip my plastics off and drop them into a trolley but I’m not lacking in confidence that way.”
VOICE and Friends of the Earth (FoE) Ireland, are two environmental groups that have been leading the campaign and encouraging the public to remove packaging at the checkout. FoE director, Oisín Coglin, also suggested that supermarkets provide recycle bins so that shoppers could leave the excess plastic. “More and more of the plastics being used for packaging are not recyclable. We want supermarkets to do their bit for reducing packaging,” he said.
Since the campaign launched, supermarkets such as Lidl have responded positively. “We have been listening to your feedback, and we’re excited to be introducing more loose fruit and veg.” A spokesperson for Tesco also released a statement to say that: “We’re absolutely committed to reducing plastic packaging and would be happy to meet with these local campaigners as we develop our plans to make all our packaging fully recyclable or compostable by 2025.”
Image Credit: Kathy Farrell