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Jaclyn McCosker

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Plastic-Free Supermarkets: Consumers are ready for #PlasticFreeProduce

Plastic-Free Supermarkets: Consumers are ready for #PlasticFreeProduce

Zero waste is a term you're going to be hearing a lot more. As our understanding of the dangers of plastic and other non-biodegradable waste quickly evolves, we're fast realising how risky it is to continue consuming the way we are. Something has to give, and hopefully - it's not the planet!

Increasingly, it's becoming more popular to do grocery shopping without the single-use plastic packaging. It's one small but powerful change an individual can make to take a philosophical stance against the linear system of planned obsolescence that society currently runs on. Today we have stores like the UK's Earth.Food.Love., Germany's Unverpackt or Australia's chain The Source promising to weigh and refill your containers, and offering all the dry goods and pantry items you could need including items like peanut butter, kombucha, cleaning liquids and soaps. More and more consumers are waking up to drastic environmental cost of wrapping food in plastic, and instead now opt to buy naked produce when it's available.

Stores like the above aim to reduce the impact of individual packaging on the environment by buying stock in large bulk packaging, which we then break down into individual serves using reusable containers. Customers can bring jars or bags to be refilled again and again, avoiding the need for single-use plastic we frequently only need to transport the product home and drastically reducing the amount of packaging used overall. While low waste stores can't eliminate all waste or be a complete solution to what is a systemic social problem, avoiding unnecessary single-use packaging allows both stores and their customers to make a powerful stance against thoughtless, wasteful consumerism.

The added benefit of stores like The Source are their connection with the local community. The franchise encourages their independent locations to source from their region, allowing the store to work directly with producers which limits food miles, supports the local economy, ensures quality control and enables them to negotiate packaging of their bulk deliveries.

So if plastic-free stores selling unpackaged foods are proving to be a successful business model, can't regular supermarkets begin to take steps towards reducing their plastic waste? Anita Horan of the #PlasticFreeProduce campaign thinks they can!

 Image from facebook.com/anita.the.writer

Image from facebook.com/anita.the.writer

Anita is a tireless advocate against the pointless plastic use in our large supermarket chains. By highlighting the excessive use of completely unnecessary packaging on supermarket shelves and their home grocery delivery services, Anita highlights how extreme the problem has become and the small changes we can make as individuals to influence action from the large corporations.

I admire the way that instead of solely advocating for large lifestyle changes that can be inaccessible to people in rural areas or with physical or financial limitations, Anita is tackling commonsense waste avoidance for the average shopper. She asks us to band together and put pressure on the big guys' like Woolworths to do the right thing and offer packaging-free options to everyone.

Individual action as we move towards zero waste lifestyles are essential, but our own actions should always be complemented with widespread advocacy and campaigning to improve accessibility for everyone across Australia.

We eliminate plastic together as a comunity, or not at all.

 Image from facebook.com/anita.the.writer

Image from facebook.com/anita.the.writer

Listen to an interview with
Anita Horan below:

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