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UK Government Considers Ban on Plastic Packaging for Fruit and Vegetables

In a significant environmental move, the UK Government is contemplating the introduction of new guidelines that would see a ban on plastic packaging for certain fruits and vegetables.

This initiative, which aligns with The Mail on Sunday's campaign against food and packaging waste, is set to revolutionise the way supermarkets sell fresh produce.

Under the proposed rules, supermarkets will be encouraged to sell more produce loose, allowing consumers to purchase exactly the amount they need. This approach is expected to significantly reduce food waste and combat the growing issue of plastic pollution. The initiative represents a return to traditional greengrocer methods, moving away from the prevalent use of pre-packed quantities.

The Government's consideration of these new guidelines has been influenced by The Mail on Sunday's persistent campaign to address the UK's escalating food and packaging waste problem. The move is anticipated to lead to a substantial decrease in the thousands of tons of plastic packaging that currently end up in UK landfills or incineration facilities each year.

While the initiative is widely supported, it is understood that some delicate items, such as soft fruit, might be exempt from the ban. Environment Minister Robbie Moore expressed strong support for the measure, stating, "Nobody wants to see good food go to waste. It harms our environment, it's bad for business – and it's morally indefensible."

Tory MP Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, also welcomed the initiative. He noted, however, that certain foodstuffs like cucumbers might still need to be sold pre-packed for practical reasons, such as extending shelf life and preventing contamination. He emphasised the potential for using recyclable, paper-based packaging as an alternative to plastic.

The British Retail Consortium has cautioned that any new regulations should be balanced, highlighting the economic and technical barriers to increasing sales of loose produce, especially for imported products. They stressed the importance of ensuring that any new regulatory burdens are proportionate and part of a cohesive strategy, particularly in light of the significant cost increases grocers are already facing across the supply chain.

This proposed change marks a pivotal moment in the UK's journey towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly shopping practices, reflecting a growing awareness of the need to tackle issues related to waste and pollution.


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