Greenpeace volunteers yesterday handed back a shopping trolley full of customers’ unwanted plastic packaging to the Sainsbury’s store on the Purley Way.
The store manager was presented with a trolley filled with 131 pieces of single-use packaging, the major contributor to the plastic pollution that is having a devastating impact on our rivers and oceans. Supermarkets in Britain are estimated to generate more than 800,000 tons of plastic packaging waste every year.
Greenpeace in Croydon had collected the plastic from Sainsbury’s customers, who also wrote personal messages to the supermarket telling them to ditch single-use plastic.
Among the plastic that customers returned, there were 12 plastic trays from vegetables, eight pieces of shrinkwrap from cucumbers, 12 wrappings from apples, bananas and oranges, as well as 29 bags from assorted lettuces, cabbages, tomatoes and potatoes.
Clive Farndon, a volunteer with the Croydon Greenpeace group, said: “Plastic is such a useful material but we really need a mindset change, to stop seeing it as a disposable one-use material.
“I can remember getting my apples in brown paper bags. Why do bananas and avocados need another layer of packaging when nature has wrapped them so well already?
“What I really want to see is an end to all these plastic film bags with the legend ‘Not currently recyclable’. I want to see all these supermarkets get their heads together and start co-operating on the plastic they use all being the same type and being recyclable. Is that really asking so much?”
A recent survey of supermarket plastic use by Greenpeace UK and the Environmental Investigation Agency revealed that despite their huge plastic footprint, half of the supermarkets have no specific targets to reduce plastic packaging and most of those who do are moving at such a slow pace that it would take them 20 years to completely rid their shelves of throwaway plastic.
Sainsbury’s is ranked 10th and bottom of the league table published as part of the survey. The company has no specific targets to reduce its use of plastic packaging.
“That’s why 800,000 people, including hundreds in Croydon and Wallington, have signed Greenpeace’s petition calling on supermarkets to ditch single-use plastics,” Farndon said.
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