April 9th, 2019
A plastic-fighting initiative aimed at reducing supermarket-generated plastic rubbish has urged shoppers to participate in its second year of action.
The new wave of the Sick of Plastic campaign’s shop and drop movement is set to kick off on April 13. The project encourages shoppers across Ireland to leave their excess plastic waste at the supermarkets’ check out points.
Last year, the campaign’s first round of plastic disobedience saw thousands of shoppers leaving their unwanted plastic packaging behind.
Claudia Tormey, one of the campaign organisers, said that while their last year’s anti-plastic crusade grabbed shops’ attention, action needs to persist to compel them to change policy.
“Last year’s action really grabbed supermarkets’ attention, but they haven’t made enough lasting changes, and people are frustrated,” she said.
“We need to increase the volume and keep up the pressure to make supermarkets break free from plastic. It’s up to all of us to demand change – and that starts at the check-out in our local supermarket.”
The campaign has set up an online platform to galvanise support from communities who want to Shop and Drop on April 13, with over 200 people virtually already signed-up to take part.
Six steps to plastic free
The campaign’s online petition has also attracted significant citizen support with 17,000 signatories backing its plastic-tackling objectives.
The initiative outlines six steps for resolving supermarket’s plastic problem such as offering package-free fruit, demanding recyclable bags, providing a plastic-free isle as well as allowing shoppers to choose their own grocery containers.
Concerned citizens can also participate in a plastic audit of supermarkets and rate the shops’ commitment to the campaign’s demands, drawing in 600 citizen auditors to date.
Incremental change has taken place within supermarkets with Lidl already offering more loose fruits while securing its Fairtrade bananas with a paper band. Supervalu has also provided bins for its customers to dispose of unwanted plastic packaging.
Oisín Coghlan, the director of Friends of the Earth Ireland commended these eco-friendly efforts but warned that they are not sufficient for eliminating the problem.
“Shoppers are trying to do their bit. People are avoiding plastic where they can and recycling as much as they can. But often we don’t have a choice when most food is unnecessarily wrapped in soft plastic,” he said.
Encouraging citizens to take part in the upcoming action, Mr Coghlan said that the symbolic demonstration will help convey a strong message of dissatisfaction to big retailers.
“Shop and Drop is a simple action for public to demonstrate their frustration and show supermarkets that they need to do more to reduce and phase our single-use plastic,” he said.
“[The campaign] is a demonstration, not the long-term solution. The solution is for supermarkets to give shoppers the choice to avoid plastic in the first place.”