Would you like some food with your plastic?

Plastic is choking our oceans, polluting our waterways and contaminating our food – yet still it dominates our shelves! Plastic packaging may help keep food hygienic, prolong shelf-life and make it easy to grab and go but the costs of this convenience are high for both people and planet. Our industrial food system has created an anonymous chain that has become inaccessible to us and is disconnecting us from our food, its origins and from nature. 

Plastic and packaging are symbolic of this disconnection – a physical and psychological barrier between us and what we eat. It’s time to break down this barrier and reclaim our vital relationship with food. As consumers, we have the power to influence how the supermarkets where we buy our food operate and we must become more conscious about the produce we buy and the packaging it comes in. In considering the source of our food and reducing packaging, we will begin buying loose and seasonal, which means we will also be more likely to support small, local businesses instead of the big supermarket chains. This in turn helps us reconnect with our communities and our environment. 

Food packaging and containers make up a large portion of the global trash mountain. For example, the average American creates around 2kg of trash every day, most of which is related to their food habits, which have been adopted by the rest of the world. The consequence of all this trash is that around 245 million kilograms of plastic is floating on the surface of the world’s oceans with an estimated 700 marine species threatened with extinction as a result of this waste. This crisis has led to to the Zero Waste grocery store movement and overseas a growing number of food outlets are deciding to do away with packaging altogether. 

These sustainability initiatives are now sweeping grocery outlets worldwide. One example of a Zero Waste store is the Original Unverpackt http://original-unverpackt.de/ which first opened its doors in September 2014 and ever since people have flocked there to buy their weekly grocery and household supplies. Their product range extends from groceries to snacks, sweets, spirits, cosmetics, cleaning products, books and food containers so they are like any other supermarket but without the disposable plastic packaging! Another store is in.gredients established in 2013 and based in Texas. Their by-line is 'Zero Waste, Local Food and Community Partnering'. https://in.gredients.com/ 

Fruit and veg come in their own natural wrapping. Why do we smother them in plastic? https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jun/28/fruit-vegetables-plastic-packaging-food-relationship-pollution?CMP=share_btn_fb
What in the World is a Zero Waste Grocery Store and Why Does the U.S. Need One (or Many)? http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/america-needs-a-zero-waste-grocery-store/
Zero-waste grocers are coming to America, July 15, 2016 Moneywatch: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/zero-waste-grocers-are-coming-to-america/ 
Eight million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean each year: https://theconversation.com/eight-million-tonnes-of-plastic-are-going-into-the-ocean-each-year-37521
Eight Zero Waste Grocery Stores from Around the World, 20 October 2014: http://www.thecultureist.com/2014/10/20/8-zero-waste-grocery-stores-around-world/
Is a zero waste grocery store possible? https://www.mnn.com/money/sustainable-business-practices/blogs/is-a-zero-waste-grocery-store-possible