Lancashire's 'Mass Unwrap' aims to leave plastic packaging at the supermarket tills

An event at Booths supermarket in Garstang aims to encourage stores to cut out unnecessary plastic packaging.
An event at Booths supermarket in Garstang aims to encourage stores to cut out unnecessary plastic packaging.

An event is being held to encourage shoppers to leave plastic packaging behind.

The idea behind the ‘Mass Unwrap’ is to leave the plastic packaging at the till to force supermarkets to deal with it, in an effort to highlight unnecessary plastic on supermarket shelves.

Volunteers, working with the charity Surfers Against Sewage, will be at Booths Supermarket in Garstang on Thursday, March 7, from 11am-1pm, help shoppers unwrap their groceries and leave the unnecessary plastic packaging at the checkouts.

After paying for their groceries as normal at the till, shoppers will take their goods over to one of the volunteers, who will help to remove the plastic packaging so the shopping can be taken home, plastic-free. Shoppers are asked to bring bags for life and/or containers to to take their shopping home.

Melanie Greggain, lead volunteer, said: “The event will help show just how much unnecessary plastic is being used to package our groceries for which, largely, there is no need. A bag around a bunch of bananas or clingfilm around a cucumber is not necessary.

“The majority of single-use plastic finds it’s way to landfill or ends up in our oceans, destroying marine life across the planet. We need to tackle this at the source – if supermarkets stop packaging groceries in plastic, it will dramatically reduce the amount of plastic in the environment – if it’s not there, people can’t take it home.

“Booths have shown great support in becoming involved in our Mass Unwrap event to help fight the war against plastic.”

Booths say they are “absolutely committed to reducing plastic packaging”, and they have already set a number of recycling or plastic-free initiatives in place, including free hot drinks only available to cardholders bringing a reusable cup. In just 12 months, this initiative alone has seen a reduction of more than 2.5 million non-recyclable cups.

John Gill, marketing manager at Booths said: “We want to work with organisations like Surfers against Sewage to understand how our teams can reduce our reliance on plastics. This event will help our teams understand the scale of the task and help us work with suppliers to further reduce the amount of plastic in our business.”

“In 2018 we started a plastic-free working group at Booths to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce plastics. Initiatives included the introduction of compostable fresh produce bags and resusable cotton produce bags which can be purchased in store to encourage shoppers to buy more loose produce. We removed single use carrier bags from our checkouts, and recently replaced all drinks packaged in plastic bottles from our cafes.”

“We are constantly striving to become a more sustainable business and this event will help our teams to find new and practical ways to reduce our reliance on plastic and be a more sustainable business.”