Greenpeace volunteers in Manchester have provided sustainably sourced recycled paper bags in local supermarkets in place of the single-use fruit and vegetable bags provided by the retailers.
This shows how easy it would be for major retailers to make small changes to start reducing their plastic footprint.
Customers are often only provided with single-use plastic bags for buying loose fruit and vegetables and these plastic bags are usually used once and then disposed of.
People who try to avoid the excessive packaging of fruit and vegetables in multiple layers of plastic trays and wrapping by choosing loose produce, often find they have to buy their loose fruit and vegetables in a plastic bag anyway.
Greenpeace volunteers have been visiting retailers all across the country to give customers another option which won’t exacerbate the ocean plastic problem.
Helen Dryden, a volunteer with Manchester Greenpeace, said:
“I find it really upsetting to walk down my local canal and see moorhens and other water birds building their nests with discarded plastic. It’s also incredibly sad that one of our Greater Manchester rivers, the River Tame in Denton, has the world’s highest recorded levels of plastic pollution. Single use plastic has to be phased out as quickly as possible, something that Manchester Greenpeace pledged to support during the Mayor’s recent Green Summit. Supermarkets can make a start by getting rid of throw-away plastic bags and replacing them with paper ones – it’s a really simple win.”
The actions took place to coincide with Earth Day, an annual global event running since 1970 which informs, inspires and mobilises millions of people around the world to protect our planet. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Ending Plastic Pollution”.
“I was really excited to be involved in Earth Day this year, with the focus firmly set on confronting the issue of plastic pollution. It would be wonderful to see our Greater Manchester rivers and canals thriving again, without the deluge of plastic waste – some of which ultimately ends up flowing out to sea with disastrous consequences. Healthy oceans are essential to all life on earth, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere to limit climate change and providing a protein source for over one billion people. Our planet relies on us protecting our oceans from becoming overwhelmed with plastic, and that means drastically decreasing single use plastics immediately.”
Manchester Greenpeace were joined by Greenpeace groups across the UK in sending this message to supermarket chains.