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Brent Cross shopping centre overpackaging: The alternative

"It sells everything you could ever need for a great meal.
There's only one catch – 
it won't give you anything to take it all home in."
Link to The Independent

"If you ever find yourself eyeing the kitchen bin guiltily, with its vast mound of plastic packets, cardboard containers and wrappers, you might be interested to know there's a whole movement that aims to go one better than even recycling: precycling, or cutting out packaging in the first place.

"Among those at the forefront of this consumer revolution is Unpackaged, a first-of-its-kind shop that eschews all packaging and invites customers to bring in their own containers and Tupperware to stock up on essentials such as flour, cereals, nuts, pasta, rice, lentils and so on. Bring bottles for oils, apple juice, wine and even gin. Simply weigh your container when you arrive so it can be deducted from the overall weight and then get filling. 

"Not only will you save money but by foregoing packaging you'll reduce the amount of material waste being either sent to landfills or incinerated."

Why Packaging?
"It’s hard to visit a landfill site without being struck by the craziness of taking very valuable minerals and resources out of the ground, using a lot of energy, turning them into short-life products and then just dumping them back into the ground. It’s an absolutely monumental waste of energy and resources. As someone from the fashion industry might say, its just so last century."
(Michael Pawlyn, The Guardian, November 21 2005)

The Problem with Packaging
Whilst some packaging is necessary in our modern industrialised food chain, unnecessary packaging is a waste:  
  • Cost: It increases the price of the goods you buy. You are charged twice – first when you buy overpackaged products and then through council tax for disposing of your rubbish.
  • Waste: It wastes resources at every level: production, storage, transport and disposal.
  • Pollution: Landfill and incineration are the two main ways of dealing with un-recyclable packaging waste. These are major pollutants for people and the environment as they release greenhouse gases.
"What about recycling? While some packaging is recycled, most ends up in landfill sites and some packaging is difficult and impossible to recycle. Recycling is certainly part of the solution, but it will only work if we use less packaging and adopt more ‘reusable’ ways of doing things – Unpackaged is based on this ethos. Remember:
  • Reduce by only buying what you need
  • Reuse by bringing your containers for a refill
  • Recycle what you can’t reuse.
"And… if you can’t reuse or recycle it, then don’t buy it!"

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