Plastic pollution and plastic waste is a massive problem which requires everyone to make an effort to use less plastic. As highlighted in documentaries such as Blue Planet II and Drowning in Plastic, the situation is critical. Plastic waste is not only endangering our oceans, beaches, fish, wildlife but also our own health as we also ingest and breathe microplastic particles. Some reports suggest that there might even be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050!
Take a quick peek at your kitchen and I am sure you’ll find that most food packaging is plastic! Plastic that we may never have worried about, simply because we can recycle it. Don’t get me wrong, recycling is great but let’s get back to the basics of the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. What were those first steps again?? … REDUCE and REUSE.
I was pleased to hear that Tesco has had a welcome change of heart on its food container ban. As of this week, you can now bring your own containers into your nearest Tesco store to buy meat, cheese or fish from deli and fish counters. Instead of using single-use plastic bags, products will be weighed and wrapped in recyclable paper then placed inside the customer’s container with the price label placed on the paper.
Morrisons already offers a similar scheme where you can bring your own containers AND get rewarded with points.
As we are still some way from being able to reuse containers for all that we buy, Tesco has also begun trialling in-store recycling machines to encourage customers to recycle plastic bottles (another major cause of plastic waste). The trial will take place at selected stores in Borehamwood, Swansea, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. The first machine opened for customers in Borehamwood on September 27th and pays 10p for bottles returned.
Now bringing your own containers will obviously not solving the issue of the millions of other plastic containers and bags we find in supermarkets’ chilled and produce aisles, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Every little helps!