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Crowborough shoppers reject plastic

On Saturday morning, shoppers at Morrisons in Crowborough, fed up with wasteful plastic, were invited to leave any unwanted packaging behind.

Residents did their shopping as usual, and as they left the store, they unwrapped some or all of their shopping, leaving the plastic in shopping trolleys for the supermarket to deal with.

The event was part of a national “Mass Unwrap” campaign organised by Surfers Against Sewage. Its goal is to raise awareness of unnecessary plastic packaging and persuade the supermarkets that the public want change now.

Local resident, Anita Bryant, organised the event. She said:

We collected over 500 pieces of plastic and other excessive packaging over the two hours and had some really interesting chats with customers about their pet hates with regard to supermarkets’ packaging.

It won’t come as much of a surprise that the most common pet hate was plastic packaging around fruit and vegetables.  People really objected to that and everyone who stopped to talk to us told us that they always try to buy loose fruit and veg and when it’s not available they resent buying it in plastic.

Another common grumble was the number of products sold in packaging which couldn’t be recycled.

They also wanted Morrisons to follow Tesco’s lead in stopping selling shrink-wrapped multi-packs of cans and bottles. Tesco announced last month they were ditching these multi-buy deals of things like baked-beans, soups and tuna, in favour of individual cans sold for the same price.

Anita added:

We’re grateful to Morrisons who kindly hosted the event and allowing us to speak to their customers.  We’ve passed on our findings
to the supermarket and Surfers Against Sewage who will add it to the data gathered at all of the other events over the coming week.

Morrisons Plastic Reduction Initiatives

Morrisons have announced a number of measures to reduce plastic pollution by 2025 – their targets are as follows:

  • Reduced by 25%
  • 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable
  • An average of 30% recycled content.
Morrison plastic potato bag "Recycle in Store" logo

Morrisons are working through all of their own brand products to identify, reduce and remove any unnecessary plastic packaging. This has included:

  • Offering Recycling Points in the entrance of all of its stores for old plastic bags and film
  • Allowing customers to use their own containers at their Market Street Butcher and Fishmonger counters in June 2018 (which has removed 1.8 million meat and fish trays equating to 35 tonnes a year).
  • Rolling out loose fruit and veg areas into more stores, offering customers up to 127 fruit and vegetable varieties all in one aisle – making it easy for our customers who want to do a plastic free produce shop.

Click to see a list of other steps Morrisons have taken to reduce plastic and download a copy of their Corporate Responsibility report for 2018-19 (see page 16-17).

Join Plastic Free Crowborough

Plastic Free Crowborough would love to hear from other residents about their experiences and find-out their suggestions of what can be done locally to improve the environment. See their Facebook page for more information: www.facebook.com/Plastic-Free-Crowborough.

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