SUPERMARKETS all around West Cork supported the recent nationwide plastic-free day of action, in support of a cleaner environment.
Fiona McDonald, the environment and recycling champion at Field’s SuperValu in Skibbereen, spoke about the initiative, which is supported by Friends of the Earth and Voice, two organisations hoping to encourage consumers to leave behind excess packaging – especially plastic.
‘It was a demonstration that we are happy to support,’ Fiona told The Southern Star. ‘People can leave anything behind that they don’t want to take with them, and we will dispose of it.’ She also said that if the initiative proved to be a success, the supermarket would consider keeping it on as a permanent feature.
‘We are trying to improve our carbon footprint,’ she said of Field’s. ‘We are trying to do things better and to find alternatives to plastic where we can, or at least recyclable packaging.’
The supermarket offers a discount if people bring their own cups for takeaway coffees and also provides biobags for fruit and vegetables that are fully compostable.
She said it was interesting to see what was left behind last Saturday: cardboard, easily removable soft plastic from fruit and vegetables – all packaging that would be relatively easy for suppliers to eliminate.
‘Much more intractable is the problem of a plastic-free alternative for raw meat, fish and deli-counter items. We have recyclable plastic trays, but they are still plastic.’
The Zero Waste Skibbereen group also reported a very successful event at Eurospar in Skibbereen. The 85-strong group is a subsidiary group of the recently established Sustainable Skibbereen Alliance which will to be formally launched in May.
At 11.30am on the day, representatives met with Gordon Benn, manager of Eurospar on Market St, where special bins for discarding plastic had been positioned at tills for customers’ convenience. Mr Benn welcomed the action saying that while the Eurospar chain of supermarkets were committed to reducing waste as much as possible, any lasting change would be customer-driven. A total of 160 signatures were gathered from customers in just under two hours, for a petition urging supermarkets to cut down on unwanted and unnecessary plastic packaging.
Zero Waste Skibbereen will run a training workshop at the West Cork Hotel on May 25th – call 089 435 2675 or visit sustainableskibbereen.com.