We try to buy organic or local where ever possible but I have a gripe. If I buy something like organic broccoli from Tescos, it comes in a plastic wrapper. Buying non-organic broccoli can be put straight into the trolley without needing a bag. The same goes for organic bananas- plastic wrapped- and a whole host of other fruits and veggies. What is the more ecological- local/organic in plastic or non.organic without packaging? Having a local market would be very handy...alas, market was stopped last year.
We should all do what the Germans did, and the WI tried to encourage us to do, and unwrap all our produce at the till, and leave the plastic there!
On a similar note - should we buy brown, unbleached, less processed sugar in a plastic bag, or white sugar in a paper bag?
I frequently leave plastic/packaging at the till. Hate it! I mean really, if you want vine tomatoes, does it really need to come in a plastic tray?
I pay for it, take the packaging off and leave it there. Me and my Cath Kidson bags
LOL- Sorry BroccoliSpears! You could write a post along the lines of 'grrrr....Tiger'! lol
ilovemydog - I have seriously considered doing that. You are my new hero!
I've thought of leaving the packaging behind too. Maybe we should all just bite the bullet and do it then the supermarkets might do something about it.
I recycle everything, use real diapers, and have an allotment, but what winds me up is that the emphasis is on the consumer, rather than the manufacturer as far as disposing of waste.
Of course part of the solution is to buy local (butcher, produce etc) but not everyone has this luxury and have to buy their groceries at a supermarket.
there should be the same facilities as for electricial retailers where they are obliged (by EU directive) to take electrical goods.
I think, from what I've read, that if you're worried about the carbon footprint then packaging is actually a remarkably small part of the equation, and plastic often comes out ahead of paper in terms of carbon 'cost' (though paper is compostable/recyclable and doesn't hang about for hundreds of years).
It's better, on the whole, to buy stuff produced closer to home (don't buy organic tomatoes from Spain when there are conventional ones from Britain - in the summer, at least).
Riverford, the vegbox people, have got some interesting stuff on carbon calculations here (you'll need to dig about on the page though)
I have thought about leaving packaging behind too, but I am positive the store staff will just throw it straight in the bin, wheras I will recycle...
it was a genuine question.
I guess because, compared with lots of other things, I don't see landfilling of plastic as a particularly serious issue, and I wondered why ilovemydog did.
well I can't speak for ilovemydog but for me I think the plastic trays etc are rather OTT and generally unneccessary and if we didn't have them it would mean less going into landfill (we can't recycle plastic tubs and packaging round here ). Any reduction in landfill must be good surely?
little frog - are you thinking about plastic bags? I think there was something on TV recently that reported that plastic bags didn't have a huge impact on landfill? (which one has to compare like with like. Plastic bags are responsible for a relatively low percentage of landfill, but take something like 50 years to biodegrade and is a huge problem for marine life)
I think that the ever increasing landfill is a huge issue, and plastic especially so. As council's have targets based on weight, it isn't considered a priority - oh, and when I called my local council to find out why we didn't have kerb side collections for plastic, was told that, 'people who recycle plastic would do so anyway?'
Carbon footprints and landfill shouldn't be considered in isolation as ideally people wouls be able to shop locally, but for most, they have to rely on what the supermarket supplies, and this is what winds me up; if I want to buy a whole chicken, why does it have to come with a massive plastic tray? Why do vine tomatoes come in so much packaging? Most of it cannot be recycled.
Don't buy your vegetables from the supermarket. Go with a box scheme.
500,000 plastic carrier bags can be transported on one lorry, only 50,000 paper carrier bags can be transported on the same size lorry, so if everyone used paper instead of plastic then 10x's as many lorries would be needed to transport the bags!!
I am told also that the energy consumption to make a plastic bag is less than that to make a paper bag but have not been able to confirm that yet.
most plastic carrier bags now will decompose in landfill within a year or 2 and make up around 0.3% of volume of a landfill. plastic carrier bags can be recycled with ease now too and have a recycle life of around 10 goes whereas paper has a max recycle life of 3 goes but a wet paper carrier is often binned or unless it is coated in wax which many are, the paper will tear if wet. wax paper bags are not recyclable.
all the big supermarkets recycle. I worked for sainsburys 20 years ago and they recycled then. there are containers for paper and cardboard, and several different containers for the different types of plastic so if you leave your plastic wrappers behind, they should be recycled en masse.
BUT, it is still best to buy locally if you can, I have just found a local farm shop that has seasonal veg and other stuff too and at reasonable prices, but as he is 7 miles away, I wait till both my sisters and mum need supplies and then we go together otherwise all the separate driving would negate the effects.
what is needed is the EU minimum packaging laws to be enacted and enforced. several years ago the EU drew up plans to require manufacturers to use the minimum of packaging but food was going to be exempted for now. but it seems that the laws were watered down. some of the biggest packaging suppliers are in germany and they stood to loose out, make your own mind up as to where I am going with this
recycling is good and necessary, but stopping the excess packaging at source would be the most environmetally way to go
If you join a box scheme it all comes in one big cardboard box or bag which you give back to them at the end of the week and which gets reused until it falls apart.
I've just checked with dh who works for a vegetable grower - both organic and conventional. The reason why organic veg is wrapped is that in order for it to be sold as organic it must be absolutely guaranteed to be chemical free. The only way that can be done is to wrap the organic stuff. The food industry is looking at ways to prevent cross contamination in other ways but at present in order to keep lorry journeys down they are transported together so there is no workable solution as yet.
Lots of interesting points on this thread re plastics. I get some very odd looks in Asda when I load up my unbagged loose produce from my trolley into my bags at the till. I have to keep telling cashiers not to bag them up for me. If I wanted them in a farking bag I would have put them in one myself... arghhhh
I do this too and if one cashier has been particularly unco-operative previously, I purposefully pick them out to go to them this time
Box schemes are more expensive than the supermarket.
To be honest the reason I want to leave the packaging is because I'm fed up of the hypocrisy. We are told to recycle and to care about the environment. Apparently this is such a big issue that we have to restrict our use of plastic bags. So much so that they now charge us for them and they tell us this isn't just to make more money but to help the environment.
Yet everything is packed in a ridiculous amount of packaging. Pure hypocrisy. So I feel like leaving the packaging in protest.
Not only that, my bins get emptied fortnightly and I get red of of packaging filling up my bin every week.
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