This Saturday, thousands of shoppers nationwide are planning to leave leave their unwanted plastic packaging at supermarket retailers as part of the Sick of Plastic campaign organised by Friends of the Earth and VOICE Ireland.
The campaign has received widespread public interest over the past month with over 360 people registering as local organisers. The campaign’s online map shows events planned at supermarkets from Buncrana to Skibbereen and from Westport to Greystones.
Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, explained:
“We have never seen a response like this before. People are clearly sick of plastic, and Saturday’s Shop and Drop action is a chance for shoppers to let supermarkets know we want them to take action.
“We’re all proud of the success of the plastic bag tax. Now we want supermarkets to reduce their packaging so we don’t have to take home more plastic than ever.”
The “Shop and Drop” action is very simple. The campaign is asking people to shop as normal in your local supermarket and then take off the excess plastic packaging at the checkout and leave it with the cashier. Volunteers will be handing out postcards shoppers can sign and hand in outlinin six ways supermarkets can reduce unwanted plastic packaging
Over the past month, Friends of the Earth wrote to the major supermarket retailers to alert them of this action and ask for their support in providing a receptacle on the day for shoppers to leave unwanted packaging after paying for their items. Supervalu, Tesco and Aldi have confirmed they will provide a place on the day for shoppers to recycle their unwanted packaging after payment.
Head of Communications for Friends of the Earth, Dr. Cara Augustenborg, elaborated:
“Supermarkets are in the privileged position to be able to influence brands and manufacturers to change their packaging to more benign materials, yet few Irish retailers have shown any intent to address the mounting seas of plastic surrounding our shores."
"Tomorrow, shoppers have an opportunity to encourage supermarkets to play their part in ending to plastic pollution in Ireland, and we believe this will spur the change that is desperately needed to tackle this problem.”
Friends of the Earth, alongside VOICE and Zero Waste Ireland, have called for three measures to address plastic pollution in Ireland now, including: a deposit and return scheme on plastic bottles and cans; a levy on single-use plastic items; and a ban on micro-plastics in cosmetics and personal care products. A deposit and return scheme on plastic bottles and cans. Their petition now has over 4,000 signatures.