100 signatures reached
To: Ministry of food; Ministry for the Environment; Chancellor of the Exchequer
Stop over packaging and use of non-recyclable products especially in the food industry
I want the government to tax retailers that continue using non-recyclables, and make the disposal of unnecessary packaging waste the retailers' problem.
Why is this important?
Imagine that pile of rubbish pictured creating a corresponding mountain of tax revenue from whomever is unnecessarily putting non-recyclable materials into the supply chain. In Germany, the supermarkets themselves have bins near the checkout area into which customers are tacitly invited to place their unwanted packaging items for the retailers to dispose of.
We need to minimise the use of non-recyclable packaging in retail, especially our fresh food. I used to work at a labelling factory: there are other viable ways of packaging, tagging, labelling and barcoding products that do not entail use of non-recyclable products.
Nor is there any need for food retailers to ask customers to use plastic bags to package products such as loose vegetables in for weighing at tills (they need to be transparent for the person on the till to identify what they're weighing). It used to be that loose items would be weighed by staff in the same way as at their delis, where barcoded labels would be produced for the till staff to scan at checkout. More recyclable products - not film, tetrapack, or anything else that is not widely recyclable - should be used.
I also want to see a ban on the use of any non-recyclable disposable gloves used in food retailer outlets such as a well known sandwich retailer, whose staff seem to change gloves each time they touch meat and are then trained to put on new gloves when they make another sandwich: there must be a better way.
Retailers could be taxed for the amount of packaging waste they put into the system , and for the amount of non-recyclable packaging they are bringing into the system from their plants and the products they bulk buy and sell on. This would reduce non-biodegradable waste in landfill, and encourage reduction of unnecessary packaging - I don't want film around a DVD or a cucumber -
which are uniform in price anyway - so that the supermarket can put a barcode on that rather than the products directly.
The UK should especially given the Brexit choice, prioritise innovation in packaging technology that could be sold to the world instead of perpetuating the inertia that seems to plague politicians on green issues (possibly for fear of upsetting sectors that lobby and contribute to the economy, and perhaps also donate to political parties). For example Amazon have reduced their non-recyclable packaging (although they do not apparently pay enough tax): we should take the principles and positive elements of what such global corporations do and apply them more widely, and look into other countries' green packaging solutions.
Ministers should stop their myopia and short-termist electioneering campaigns over-focusing on natural greed and our desire to preserve individual wealth, and look at ways to boost our economy, further the manufacture and use of green technologies, reduce waste in landfill and increase tax revenue from the massive national and international corporations controlling our food industry and pricing. The reality is that all the larger supermarkets are trying to convince us that they are ethical and have a corporate social responsibility, and this would be a good way of demonstrating that they mean it.
Not everyone I know on social media has awareness of green organisations trying to further this project as a common aim, but would support the idea of such a tax: even if they do not believe in recycling, the vast majority would like to have less recycling to do, and would agree with there being fewer non-recyclables in the supply chain and the notion that corporations should be paying more tax.
Green issues and tax revenues affect us all - many excuse their failure to recycle because they say our species is hurtling toward its doom in any event. It is exactly that sort of attitude that is damaging our world: we should expend our energy on ways to save ourselves instead: if we can get to the moon why can't we stop over-relying on non-recyclable packaging?
How it will be delivered
I intend to consult and join forces with environmental organisations like Friends of the Earth and the Green Party and work out how best to make an impact.