PLASTIC PROBLEM: Plastic packaging on fresh produce is causing a stir in supermarkets.
PLASTIC PROBLEM: Plastic packaging on fresh produce is causing a stir in supermarkets.

Make shops deal with unnecessary plastic on food: OPINION

FOLLOWING on from last week's column, when I was a kid, growing up on a cattle farm in north-western Sydney, we never thought about what happened to our rubbish.

We had no garbage pickup service and, like many other households of that era, there were a couple of incinerators just near the chook shed. One was an old 44-gallon drum that did the trick for many years; I remember the excitement when Dad bought a new-fangled concrete-block job. But in hindsight, we really didn't generate that much trash, although Mum was fond of canned vegetables. Apart from the cans, there was little plastic then and food scraps went to the dogs and chickens.

My father was notorious for going to the tip and coming back with more garbage than he started out with. I guess in many ways, he was an early environmentalist (if you can ignore the smoke aspect - he loved the incinerator); a child of the Depression, he hated seeing things being discarded. I have learned well; I still have a microwave oven that is 30 years old; it's enormous and ugly, but it still works so I won't get a new one until it carks it (or maybe not even then). I've also retrieved fruit from the dumped prunings of citrus trees at my local tip.

I don't know what Dad would have thought of this throw-away society we live in now. An era when perfectly good mobile phones and televisions are jettisoned because a newer, shinier one is available. An era when everything is packaged to within an inch of its life. I have, in recent months, started collecting all the unnecessary plastic stuff in which fresh food comes, and I am returning it to the place of purchase for them to deal with it.

I am urging my friends to do the same. I don't know if it will make any difference, but perhaps if big stores see the end result of all the packaging we are forced to buy our food in, they might rethink the topic.

Meat comes in little plastic-covered trays, sitting on little plastic mats filled with some weird absorbent gel; fruit and veg are in rigid tubs - all unnecessary.

Make a simple start by not buying bottled water and rejecting a lid for your takeaway coffee.

Plastic, unfantastic.



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