Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Problem with Packaging

Last week I wrote about the Rethink Waste event and mentioned the Eco Living discussion group. One of the issues raised within that group was the excessive amounts of packaging used by supermarkets and the disposal responsibility this imposes on the shopper. My advice would be to leave anything you think is excessive at the till, making the supermarkets aware of the fact that not everyone is happy with the methods they use, but even then this does not really address the initial problem of excess, unless people do this on mass and management really start to take notice. Damien Clarkson, wrote an excellent article last week on Tesco's Green Package, featured below:

On the few occasions that I wander into a Tesco store I feel agitated. There are a whole myriad of reasons for this; amongst them are the following:
1)      Self loathing because I am actually shopping there (rather than supporting small local businesses)
2)      The way they treat in store employees
3)      Poor quality vegetables from halfway across the world
4)      Greenwash (Tesco are main propagators of this)
5)      BUT most of all food PACKAGING!
Almost every item of food is caked in packaging in an attempt to try and entice us into purchasing the slightly more expensive product. You are encouraged to purchase bananas and courgettes in plastic bags and it seems that more packaging the more expensive the product. The main question this poses for me is why? I suppose the underpinning reason is profit.
Packaging itself has become a big business, with the global yearly foodpackaging industry  estimated to be worth around 100 billion dollars a year and growing at a rate of 10% a year.
Another reason for the amount of packing could be because as consumers we have become accustomed to excess packaging. Lack of packaging has become associated with cheap value brands in supermarkets. It appears we have become far removed from the food manufacturing process. If food is hidden in multiple levels of packaging it allows the consumer to detach themselves from buying inhumanely killed and processed food. Instead consumers go through the process of buying a package. Deep down we all know that to produce food on the grand scale that Tesco does and at the prices they can offer is going to mean some pretty unethical production.
Recently “Hugh’s Big Fish Fight” exposed Tesco’s reliance on unethically caught Tuna with the pressure leading to a switch to 100% pole and line caught fish for its own brand Tuna. This a prime example of unsustainable un-green practice Tesco specialise in...
To read the rest of this article click here
Image: Keattikorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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