Butcher cuts use of plastic by half
A BUSINESS in St John’s village has more than halved its use of plastic after it began urging customers to take their meat home in reusable containers.
Last month André Vitel, owner of AR Vitel Butchers, urged customers to bring their own containers instead of having the products individually wrapped and then placed in one of the shop’s plastic bags.
The store is now using fewer than 125 carrier bags per week – compared to 250 at the start of the year.
However, the butcher said that in recent days some customers had returned to using plastic carrier bags.
‘It has been a bit hit and miss. Right after the article was published everyone was bringing in reusable containers, but it has tailed-off a bit recently.
‘The publicity has definitely made a difference – our regular customers who come in all the time always bring their own containers now, but we are getting some customers who are still opting to use plastic bags. It is quite upsetting.
‘We could enforce it as a rule but then we would risk scaring customers away, so that is not really an option for us.’
Mr Vitel added that he was now speaking to his plastic bag suppliers about introducing more environmentally friendly alternatives. He also explained that he already used biodegradable film to wrap his produce when it was sold to customers.
Mr Vitel’s anti-plastic drive comes after the States gave its backing to the soon-to-be-launched Plastic Free Island campaign – a local version of a national initiative designed to stop plastic waste ending up in the world’s oceans.
He said: ‘A lot of people have been making the suggestion that we could use paper bags, but if you have meat in one of those then the bag will just turn all soggy and horrible, it just will not work.
‘The supermarkets really need to lead the way on this and look at things like packaging which will break down over a few years rather than a thousand. Once they start doing things like that it will just become a way of life.’
Last week it was also announced that a St Peter wine merchant was to stop its orders of 40,000 plastic water bottles each year and replace them with returnable glass bottles shipped in from France instead.
Alick Robertson, general manager of Dunell’s Premier Wines, which has three stores, said that the first shipment of reusable bottles had just arrived and that they had already received a great deal of interest.
‘The bottles have literally only just arrived, but we have had some sales already and there have also been quite a few calls about them – the feedback has been really good,’ he said.
‘We still have some plastic bottles left but they will likely run out in the next few months.
‘We are hoping to launch a scheme where we take back empty plastic bottles people have bought from us for recycling, but we are still working on the logistics of that.’