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Alderney campaigners remove excess wrapping

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PLASTIC-FREE Alderney campaigners gathered at two supermarkets this weekend offering to collect any superfluous plastic wrapping from shoppers’ goods.

Plastic-Free Alderney members offered to take excess wrapping from products at the island’s two supermarkets, Left to right, Claire Thorpe, Bobbie Allen, MacNiven Young and Simon Dooley. (Picture by Emma Pinch)

It was part of an initiative organised by Surfers Against Sewage to put pressure on UK stores to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging on their goods.

Excess packaging on fruit and vegetables is a particular source of concern.

Campaigners spent an hour at each branch of Alderney’s Le Cocq’s, at the Cutting and in St Anne.

Discarded wrappers came from items such as lettuces, potatoes, mushrooms and pet food.

Claire Thorpe, campaigner for Plastic-Free Alderney, said the reception had been encouraging.

‘We’ve been asking people once they’ve paid for their shopping whether they want to have us unwrap any of their unwanted plastic,’ she said.

‘We will now take pictures of all the plastic we’ve collected and send them off to Surfers Against Sewage and they can use it in their calls for UK supermarkets to reduce plastic in their packaging and choose more sustainable items.’

Alderney fares better than the UK in terms of the quantity of pre-packed fruit and vegetables.

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‘There’s a lot more loose fruit and veg and the shops offer paper bags to put it in,’ said Miss Thorpe. ‘You can also buy meat in sustainable packaging available.

‘Otherwise we are fairly similar because most of the products in our supermarkets come from the UK, from the likes of Tesco and Waitrose.

‘That’s why we need to put the pressure back on the UK supermarkets to stop them producing so much packaging.’

The event had encouraged people to think about what they put in their shopping baskets, she said.

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‘A lot of people have asked us what we’re doing and that’s started a conversation,’ she said. ‘It’s been good to see how few plastic shopping bags are being used at the checkout.

‘Some of the shops have got rid of plastic bags completely, but of those who haven’t, nearly every one is bringing their own bags, which is really encouraging.’

Alderney’s war on plastic has recently included the launch of a milk vending machine at the Farm Shop, refillable shampoo bottles at the pharmacy and efforts by shops to replace plastic bags and meat packaging with paper versions.

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