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Poll: North Somerset environmental groups called on to work together to tackle supermarket plastic

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:50 12 January 2018

Members of SPAD at one of the supermarkets.

Members of SPAD at one of the supermarkets.


A North Somerset environmental group is taking action against supermarkets for their use of plastic.

Our Cleaner Coastlines campaign launches this week. Our Cleaner Coastlines campaign launches this week.

Sustainable Pill And District (SPAD) is supporting the Times’ Cleaner Coastlines campaign to achieve plastic-free coastline status for Clevedon and Portishead.

While Pill is not on the coast, the Avon river runs through the village and much of the rubbish which ends up in it will continue on to the sea.

SPAD members decided to take action against the supermarkets by carrying out an experiment.

Martin Poyntz-Roberts, a representative for Surfers Against Sewage and a member of SPAD, said: “We wanted to take action, but without causing problems.

“We decided we would buy ingredients for a breakfast from four supermarkets in Portishead to highlight how much plastic was used.”

Packaging collected for SPAD's breakfast – including a lot of plastic. Packaging collected for SPAD's breakfast – including a lot of plastic.

Members found many foods were wrapped in plastic, particularly fruit and vegetables and said there was no need for it.

Only the manager from Sainsbury’s agreed to meet the group, but said the decisions on packaging are not taken in individual stores.

Martin said: “Our next step is to get in touch with all the head offices.”

MORE: 5 ways your business can help our Cleaner Coastlines campaign.

Bob Langton, a member of SPAD, said it was planning to put together a petition – and hoped North Somerset could lead the way in promoting change.

SPAD plans to work with other environmental and sustainable groups across North Somerset, bringing them together to tackle plastic at the source.

The group met to discuss its plans in the same week Prime Minister Theresa May announced an environmental strategy to stop needless plastic waste by 2042.

Bob said: “The oceans cannot wait 25 years. They need something doing now.”

Under the proposals, the 5p plastic bag charge will extend to all shops, which Martin and Bob said they supported.

However, they said encouraging supermarkets to introduce a plastic-free aisle would not go far enough, and they were disappointed about the lack of a plastic bottle deposit scheme and planned legislation.

To learn more about our campaign, search for Cleaner Coastlines: Weston and North Somerset plastic-free campaign on Facebook.

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