A group of about 25 customers at the supermarket in Keynsham, near Bath, ripped the wrapping off their goods and left it at the tills.

Tony Mitchell, who organised the protest, said “three huge trollies” were filled with discarded plastic.

Tesco said it was “absolutely committed to reducing plastic packaging”.

After completing their weekly shop, the protesters paid for their groceries before taking scissors to the plastic packaging and leaving it behind for the store to deal with.

Mr Mitchell, said the group had been a “bit apprehensive” but the response from supermarket staff had not been at all “hostile”.

“The manager was there and he was being distant but friendly and, from what one or two people said, he sort of agreed with this,” he said.

He added the group was not “picking on Tesco” and would be hitting the local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose next.

“We’ll certainly be doing the other supermarkets in the town which have not been making as much effort as they might have done,” he said.

“And I personally will be quite happy to just strip my plastics off and drop them into a trolley but I’m not lacking in confidence that way.”

I really like this because it is a targeted and big impact action.

I have occasionally seen blogs of individuals who crow aout being a “zero waste household” or about being ethical and reducing their plastic use who do so by going to stores and removing the packaging of things and leaving it in store rather than taking it home. This is what they think being “zero waste” means. Sure they can be proud that their garbage bin is almost empty every week but they conveniently forget that all the waste still exists and is just being dealt with else where.

This protest on the hand was very deliberate and was not about any one individual feeling better or reducing consumption but instead a united action to try and get a corporation to act more responsibly. Sure they only hit one store out of hundreds in the UK alone but it is a message that gets passed up the chain and will more than likely be repeated across the country. And yes, it meant a little more work for staff, but by being considerate and putting all the waste in one location (the trolleys) the protesters balanced being disruptive and being seen with being considerate and responsible. 

And I know that super markets buy from all sorts of suppliers so aren’t responsible for all the packaging but they are responsible for any of their own brand products and they do have major sway with suppliers, packagers and producers. 

And if you support this and think that what we need is responsibility from large corporations and it is not the responsibility of just the individual citizen then contact your supermarkets or brands you use a lot. Maybe we can’t or don’t want to all go to a supermarket and stare them in the eye while taking off packaging. But we can make a contribution. Tweet support. Tweet to brands and corporations. Email them. Go on their FB pages. Contact your MPs or local politicians and say “oi! do something about this waste. This is not an individual problem this is a systemic corporate and government level problem, you are the ones with the power to make a massive impact here”

Reblogging for commentary. This sums up how I feel about this action, and why it was meaningful but still considerate, and how it could be even more meaningful if organized on a larger scale.

‘Plastic attack’ protest staged at Tesco


Banana Plastic

Elif Bilgin, an inventor from Turkey, devised a way to make plastic from banana peel when she was 16. She was inspired by seeing all the plastic waste in the Bosphoros strait in Istanbul, and wanted to make bioplastics which could replace the ever-present petroleum-based plastics in the world.

Her method is beautifully simple, using a couple of cheap chemicals and household appliances, it’s easy enough for anyone to make. The banana plastic was entered into Google Science Fair 2013, and you can read all about her method here.


Building Roads from Waste Plastic

Nelplast, a company in Ghana, is recycling waste plastic and turning it into pavement blocks. Currently, only 2% of waste plastic in Ghana is recycled, but Nelplast aim to change that. 

Scrap plastic is shredded and mixed with sand in a 60:40 ratio, creating durable tiles. They’re long lasting and require few resources to produce. Nelplast’s intention is to use these recycled plastic tiles to build roads in Ghana. They also sell roofing tiles, offer consultation for recycling companies, and their recycling machinery is made from scrap metal.

Nelplast Ghana Limited