Day one of the the collaboration experiment, “How many people does it take to make change?” Emails went out to the top 5 UK supermarkets; Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda today asking them to make a few inexpensive changes to their fresh product sections to reduce packaging. Of course, they may not agree that my suggestions are inexpensive but let’s see. At the very least the emails might encourage some collaboration!
Here is the letter:
I am writing to Tesco and four other major supermarkets to request a simple inexpensive change, that I think will benefit you, your customers and the planet. What I would like to see in your fresh produce department is the following:
1.No tomatoes in plastic boxes and wrapping, only loose tomatoes.
2.No potatoes, carrots, parsnips, courgettes or peppers etc in plastic bags. Only loose.
3.No pears, plums, nectarines or peaches in plastic boxes.
4.A board with approximate life expectancy of each veg i.e. 4 days from purchase.
5.Advice on the best way to store specific produce items.
6.In store campaign to encourage people to bring their own containers to collect fresh produce.
You can probably think of other things that could be sold unwrapped, but I wanted to be specific in this email.
I have been wondering why, after we discovered the planet is running out of resources such as oil, we still have so much packaging in supermarkets. My research so far suggests that there is an idea, in the West at least, that packaging saves resources by extending the life of fresh produce and so reduces food waste. This in turn reduces waste of the resources that go into food production .
However, it seems to me that there is another way we can reduce food waste and wasteful packaging as well. If we buy less then eat it, cook it or freeze it, before it goes off we will have the best of both worlds.
I look forward to hearing from you.