More mind-boggling waste-related numbers as a by-product of shopping. The headline is the waste numbers are big and the recycling number is small.
Granted we need to buy stuff, but it is what we buy - how much we buy, what it is made of, how it is packaged and how we carry purchases - that needs more attention.
There has been great focus on the supermarkets and grocery shopping - the good news is that the charge for carrier bags has reduced the number of single-use supermarket plastic bags by 80%. However, it is reported that the remaining 20% totals 2 billion plastic bags 😬- still a sizeable waste problem.
The other supermarket shopping waste biggie is meat, fruit & vegetable packaging.
One way we have significantly reduced waste at unpckd HQ is by buying meat from a local butcher - however, this is only possible with available time and access, neither of which are easy to come by, hence why supermarkets thrive...the good news is our local butcher always comments on how more & more customers are bringing their own containers 👍🏻
Supermarket meat is often packaged in black plastic trays which CAN be recycled (Which Magazine May 2017:) ‘but often ends up in landfill or poor-quality recycling, because automated recycling sorting systems can’t sort it. Near infrared readers (NIR) can’t detect the pigments commonly used in black plastic so don’t pick it out for high-quality recycling. Recycling organisation Wrap has helped to develop an alternative pigment that can be detected and sorted, but told us: “There are commercial reasons why it hasn’t been adopted yet; the whole supply chain needs to change.’
We’re heading in the right direction, just doesn’t feel fast enough.
As consumers, we can do our bit by refusing packaging (using our own containers), recycling packaging (finding & using all the facilities that are available to us) and holding accountable producers who persist with non-recyclable packaging (e.g. Walkers & crisp packets).