Su­per­mar­ket giants need to take plas­tic lead

South Western Times - - News - Billy Kerr

THE ABC pro­gram War on Waste has been quite the piv­otal mo­ment in Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion his­tory as it seems the se­ries has fi­nally man­aged to gal­vanise us as a loose col­lec­tive in re­ally tak­ing a good look at how poorly we man­age our waste.

The Chi­nese Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to stop im­port­ing mega tonnes of our waste also frog­marched us into the re­al­ity that if we pro­duce it we need to re­duce it and it is no good just send­ing it over the hori­zon and hop­ing the prob­lem goes away.

The planet is not the eas­i­est place to leave at the mo­ment so it is up to us to take the lead and clean the place up.

Reusables in the re­tail sec­tor ac­count for a large per­cent­age of the waste that we pro­duce but cer­tainly the big re­tail­ers like Woolworths, Coles, IGA etc. have fi­nally ac­knowl­edged they need to play their part.

By July 1 in this State, sin­gle-use plas­tic bags will be banned and shop­pers are going to have to pro­vide their own bags or pur­chase them from the re­tail­ers. Oddly, some of the big su­per­mar­kets are going to use multi-use heavy duty plas­tic bags as the de­fault op­tion which is quite silly given th­ese bags take longer to break down once they are in the en­vi­ron­ment.

Any­thing you use to carry your gro­ceries out of the shop is going to have an en­ergy use price to it whether that be a bag made out of scrap ma­te­rial by grandma at home or can­vas or cot­ton bag pur­chased over the counter.

For me, I am quite at­tracted to bags made out of hemp which, ac­cord­ing to Mr Google is one of the old­est farmed crops on the planet. Hemp bags are strong, light­weight and when it reaches the end of its life it just goes in the com­post bin.

Get­ting your gro­ceries out to the car is only part of the prob­lem, as get­ting the gro­ceries out of their own pack­ag­ing is a big­ger prob­lem. The in­dus­try it­self has got to take the lead and own­er­ship of this prob­lem in­stead of just turn­ing a blind eye and putting the re­spon­si­bil­ity back on us to dis­pose of all the plas­tic and polyurethane trays that en­cap­su­late ev­ery­thing from veg­eta­bles to meat.

Shift­ing that cost onto us is not ac­cept­able and as re­tail­ing col­lec­tives they now need to show that they are ex­em­plary cit­i­zens of the planet by their ac­tions in us­ing degrad­able al­ter­na­tives to wrap their mer­chan­dise in.

Then and only then can they tag them­selves as en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

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