How Much Bloody Waste?


Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying very hard to practice what I preach to you, my readers.

This has meant, that I have started to look very carefully at how much plastic and other packaging arrives with the goods that I purchase. It doesn’t really matter where you shop, although I have noticed that the level of packaging seems to remain the same no matter how much the price of the item.

This leads me to think that the cost of the packaging is so cheap for the retailer to provide that it must accept the price it pays for packing. Bearing in mind if it was easier and cheaper for the retailer to ship it and stock it without the packaging it surely would. From the retailers perspective, the packaging makes sense irrespective of the price of the goods contained.

The big problem is how much this packaging impacts on our immediate environment and what that holds for the future. Big chunks of the packaging are not recycled or indeed not recyclable at all. Therefore it ends up in landfill which is having an impact, both on our immediate environment and most certainly on our future.

What can we do? Well, we should certainly be looking at all of the packaging we see around the items we buy and question whether or not it is reasonable or acceptable, for us as consumers. If it’s not then we need to raise that with the retailer concerned and let them know that we think the level of plastic and other packaging is no longer acceptable, and could they make alternative arrangements.

I don’t think, that most retailers really factor in the environmental issues and I’m more focused on making sure that the just in time delivery system works and the pricing model fits the current consumer market.

Well, of course, you and I both know, that we consumers are starting to change and that we all need to be more mindful about the level of packaging we use and that which ends up in landfill.

I think it is fairly safe to assume that if you look at some packaging and don’t understand in your own mind how that packaging could or would be recyclable, or if you can’t think of any alternative uses for that particular bit of packaging. Or it’s not paper or cardboard, you should really question what’s going to happen to it. The chances are it’s going to end up in in a hole in the ground, or worse still shipped abroad and just burnt.

It really is up to us as consumers to start to force the retailers to change, to let them know that we want less packaging. Of course, that means you may have to start taking your own bags, or it may mean that we start to have vegetables packaged in cardboard or paper packaging or it may mean a change in some other way.

Personally, I don’t see the problem with having a piece of meat, some lamb chops for example wrapped in brown greaseproof paper rather than being placed on a polystyrene tray and wrapped in cling film. Sure there might be a little bit of Inconvenience perhaps some blood staining on the rest of your shopping, but, that’s the way it was done for many hundreds of years before plastic.

I urge you to start looking carefully at the products you buy and the way you buy them. If it comes in plastic and or polystyrene packaging you can be sure of that ending up in landfill either immediately or in the medium term as many of these products are not recyclable. Where you find products that are wrapped in this material, take a photograph of it, Tweet it to the retailer, or send it to Facebook let them know that there has to be an alternative way,  some other way of making sure that this is shipped to the store in a way that doesn’t have such an impact on the environment.

The retailers all want an easy life, we also want products that are priced right for us.  But there has to be a balance in there somewhere, there has to be a way of solving both problems. The starting point is going to be you and I taking responsibility and looking at the options.

The big problem, of course, is that most of you won’t bother. Most of you will continue doing as you’ve always done ignoring the fact that you’re buying many tons of plastic over a lifetime but it is ending up damaging the environment,  in fact, it’s double damage to the environment because in its manufacture the environment would have been damaged.

So the next time you’re out shopping stop –  look – think – photograph tweet – and ask. Even if only a few us do that will soon get change which of course will be good for all of us.

Remember, we only rent this space. We don’t live on this planet forever and we have to leave this planet in a better place than when we arrived.


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