By now, most of us are aware of the damage plastic packaging has on our environment. We know it is bad and yet, many of us do nothing about it. What drives us to maintain these habits, even though we have been told countless times of the plastic waste exponentially growing in the oceans? We need to become aware of these behaviours and, as such, we can start adapting our lifestyle accordingly.
Convenience & Habit
Over the years, plastic packaging in supermarkets has slowly been growing out of control. We’ve become so accustomed to fruit and veg coming in plastic bags and packaging that most of us don’t even think twice before putting it in the trolley. We enter the supermarket, list in hand, buy the same products week in, week out. It’s time to start thinking about what goes into your trolley.
Lack of Options
Many people believe that shopping plastic free can’t be done, but it most certainly can. We just need to break our old habits and create new ones. All it takes is some time. Take the time in your next shop to source food that comes with no packaging, or failing that reusable or recyclable packaging. Once you’ve found out where they live, you’ll be able to pick them up easily in future shopping trips. If you haven’t done so already, check out my post on shopping plastic free for some useful tips.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Its easy to plead ignorance when it comes to the amount of waste we generate. The bin men come like clockwork and whisk away the rubbish, never to be seen again. This makes it far easier for us to justify to ourselves that we are not harming the planet. Luckily this mindset is starting to change with an abundance of videos now appearing showing how our environment is suffering.
We’ve all seen it, a young child with snotty fingers, or someone in desperate need of a bath touching fruit and putting it back in the pile. It can turn even the most dedicated waste reducers off. But think about it, you’re going to be washing / cooking the fruit or veg anyway (I hope!) before eating it.
Many items in plastic packaging come at a lower price. They are usually store brand items such as grains and can significantly undercut many of the more environmentally friendly packaged items. Sadly, this is one of the main reasons many of us enable the plastic packaging frenzy and is something that needs to be addressed at a higher level – affordable eco-friendly packaging.
Don’t be an enabler
While I feel that supermarkets have a lot to answer for, we, as individuals, need to play our part in removing plastics. If we continue to buy products in plastic packaging, then we are pretty much telling the supermarkets that we are happy to do so. If we stop buying products in plastic packaging and buy alternative packaging, the markets will soon start to follow this trend.
“And what if there are no alternatives in my local market?” you may be asking. Make some noise. Don’t just accept that this is the way it is. Write to your local shop and let them know, tag them in your tweets and Facebook posts. Public perception is very important in this industry and as soon as people are seen to be seeking other options, the industry will begin to react.
So next time your out buying something, think packaging free, think reusable packaging, think recyclable packaging and ditch the plastic packaging!