The Covid crisis has increased the UKs single-use plastic consumption exponentially. Whilst most of this rise can be attributed to face masks, plastic gloves and sanitizer bottles, the war on food packaging is long-standing and still just as imperative.
Throughout the Covid crisis advice was given to wash any fruits and vegetables packaged or not, however, this has brought to attention the fact that despite appearing as the more sanitary option, Covid can live on Polypropylene for up to three days. Consequently, the obvious answer would be to ban all plastic packaging, however, whilst there is no excuse for a lack of enthusiasm by retailers, a balance has to be struck between the war on plastic and the war on food waste. For example, the shrink-wrap on a cucumber can increase its shelf life by up to six days- reducing food waste.
Whilst mainstream shows like ‘War on Plastic’ do a fantastic job at highlighting plastic misuse to the everyday public, we must all respond in kind by demanding more from suppliers and producers. A pioneering campaign called #OurPlasticFeedback has already made waves in securing commitments from top grocery retailers to alter their plastic usage. Tesco plans to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic from UK stores by 2020- in part by introducing a re-usable container scheme, whereby customers are encouraged to buy items that can be returned, professionally cleaned and re-filled to prevent reliance on single-use plastic.
It’s a sad fact that almost half of all plastic is produced for single-use items which will go on to have a lifespan outlasting us all- but will have a devastating impact on the lifespan of our natural plant.
-Buy loose fruit and vegetables
-Take reusable Tupperware containers to the supermarket and buy meat/ fish/ dairy from the counter
-Invest in a reusable coffee flask
-REFUSE plastic straws
-Buy reusable beeswax wraps as an alternative to cling film
-Be prepared to go without! Shake off the lifestyle expectation that everything is available year-round, let’s go back to a seasonal produce schedule and consequently reduce the carbon emissions transporting food across the world creates.