Did you watch Blue Planet II? If not, I can only imagine you were on the moon or in prison. And while the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of the deep-sea squid, sharks and the like, I, along with most of the country, was not so impressed by the sight of acres of plastic waste clogging up our oceans – much of it from food, and almost all of it unnecessary.
According to the Blue Planet people, 12m tonnes of the stuff manages to get into our seas and oceans every year, and most of it stays there – floating around to kill birds, fish, even whales.
So why are we so obsessed with wrapping everything in the stuff? Back in the day (yes, I am very old…), vegetables came home in paper bags. They still do if you shop at the market. Yet the big stores envelop everything in plastic, the upmarket ones even putting apples and pears in moulded plastic trays. Wrapping potatoes in plastic bags, sometimes with the mud in which they grew still stuck to them, seems to defeat the point, doesn’t it?
When did plastic-wrapped fruit and veg become a thing? I honestly can’t think, but the younger members of the team at appetite HQ reckon they’ve never known anything else. Whether it’s potatoes, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes or just about anything you can fit into a bag, cling film or a plastic tray – you’ll find it encased in the stuff. I don’t know when it happened, but I’ve had my land and sea-fill.
Thanks to Blue Planet, the youngsters in the office now choose unwrapped goods in the supermarket. And they don’t put it in one of those silly little plastic bags they provide for loose produce either, preferring the pleasure of seeing their oranges and apples roll joyfully around around on the cashier’s conveyor belt. If you haven’t already joined this peaceful protest against plastic wrap, dear reader, please do, and do your bit to change the world, one muddy, conveyor belt dancing spud at a time.