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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Cut excess packaging, WI urging
Fruit in packaging
The WI wants packaging to be compostable or recyclable
A campaign against "unnecessary" packaging used by supermarkets has been launched by the Women's Institute.

It wants stores to charge for plastic bags and phase out practices such as shrink wrapping fruit and vegetables and placing them on trays.

Supermarkets say they have made efforts to cut packaging in recent years.

In a day of action WI members in England and Wales will return "excess" wrappers to stores and urge them to do more to address environmental concerns.

According to the WI, supermarket groceries still account for 70% of the UK's packaging market.

We need to either recycle it or have it composted because otherwise we're just filling landfill sites
Ruth Bond, WI

It is calling on supermarkets to only use compostable and recyclable materials in its packaging where required.

It also wants stores to buy fresh produce from local suppliers where possible to cut down on transport emissions, give unsold groceries to charities and turn any excess into compost.

"We need to either recycle it or have it composted because otherwise we're just filling landfill sites," Ruth Bond, from the National Federation of Women's Institutes told the BBC.

"We are told that the consumer wants things packaged. Well I would say to that 'You say we want it but that's all you offer us'."

Leading retailers including Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose are supporting a government-backed initiative aimed at tackling packaging and food waste.

And among other recent announcements from stores on green issues, Tesco has said it plans to follow the Co-Op's lead by making its carrier bags biodegradable.

Meanwhile, Steve Kelsey, who works for design firm PI3 said much packaging is necessary.

"When you look at what it's done in terms of getting the food product in ideal conditions into the supermarket, into our homes so that we can consume it, to maintain it so to make sure it's healthy, to make sure it's in perfect condition, it's got a very, very important role," he said.




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