Local campaign group Wharfedale Tackles Plastic (WTP) are holding a Mass Unwrap at Booths Supermarket on Saturday 29 February at 10am until 12pm. The venture is an initiative from Surfers Against Sewage, a national environmental charity, which calls on communities to make a stand against pointless plastic packaging. Volunteers across the district have been organising events to help shoppers return plastic straight back to the supermarkets. At the same time as the Booths’ 'Unwrap', Addingham Environment Group will be at Addingham Co-op, whilst Plastic Free Silsden volunteers will be at Aldi in Silsden.
The action encourages shoppers to bring along reusable bags and containers to decant their purchases, then hand unnecessary plastic to volunteers to be logged and recycled where possible.
“We have been working with Booths Ilkley for the past year” said event organiser Louise Miller of WTP, “and are pleased that they are happy to help us draw attention to this issue. We need shoppers to use their buying power to indicate to the supermarkets that we don’t want or need all this plastic. We also need suppliers to provide affordable alternatives.”
Booths Specialist Manager, Paul Rogers-Wilson stated, “we are happy to be involved in the initiative and will be taking the opportunity to highlight our range of eco- friendly products. We have already removed plastic straws, cutlery and sauce sachets at the request of Wharfedale Tackles Plastic, as we are aware that these are some of the top offenders in plastic pollution. We also encourage customers to bring their own takeaway coffee cups and are happy to use customer’s own containers on our meat and fish counters.”
This year’s action will also gather evidence of customers’ top plastic pet-hates, through Citizens Science, to feed back to government and industry and call for immediate action. “We want shoppers to come and talk to us about their efforts to reduce plastic waste and any particular issues they are finding” said WTP Secretary Anne Cuthbertson, “so we can feed this back to the project and the supermarket”.
Research shows that 59 billion pieces of plastic packaging are distributed by the supermarkets every year – that’s 112 thousand pieces each minute. The total plastic packaging used by the UK’s biggest supermarkets rose from an estimated 886,000 tonnes in 2017 to 903,000 tonnes in 2018. In 2019 SAS Mass Unwrap events collected up to nine pieces of unwanted plastic a minute.
If you would like to help out at the event, or want further information, email Louise Miller at Wharfedaletp@gmail.com