Fed up with green beans on black plastic trays? Tired of cucumbers in tight-fitting plastic jackets? Have you had enough of bananas in bags? Then, according to a government minister, you should remove the offending packaging - and dump it at the checkout.

Shoppers were urged yesterday to take direct action to force supermarkets to cut the excessive and wasteful packaging that goes direct from the shop shelf to the household bin.

The environment minister Ben Bradshaw advised food shoppers to leave excessive wrapping at the tills and to report the stores to trading standards in an attempt to cut the amount of unnecessary plastic sent to landfill sites. http://environment.guardian.co.uk/waste/story/0,,1947184,00.html

The UK 's top 13 grocery retailers have reported on their progress against the Courtauld Commitment, which aims to reduce the amount of packaging and food waste that ends up in everyone's bins.

The Courtauld Commitment, made a year ago, is between the 13 retailers and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP). It was developed in partnership with Defra.

In a meeting with Minister of State for Local Environment Ben Bradshaw and Jennie Price, chief executive of WRAP, the retailers outlined actions taken over the past year, including: minimised packaging that is already on-shelf innovations that keep food fresher for longer and so cut the amount that is thrown away longer term targets that embed household waste reduction in the retailers' corporate strategies

They also set out their plans for future action. Ben Bradshaw said: “Unnecessary and excessive packaging and waste contributes to dangerous climate change.

It also adds to the cost to local authorities and the public of managing waste. “I am impressed by the commitment that has been shown over the past year by retailers, but the action has to go further and has to be more visible to consumers. Until the supermarkets demonstrate clearly that they are willing to lead by example we cannot expect consumers to get fully engaged with reducing their own waste.”

The 13 retailers are Asda, Boots, Budgens, the Co-operative Group, Londis, Iceland, Kwik Save, Marks & Spencer, Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose. At the meeting, Jennie Price announced that three major brands – Heinz, Northern Foods and Unilever – have now signed up to the Courtauld Commitment.


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