ENVIRONMENTAL group Transition Chepstow took part in a recent "mass unwrap" event at the town's Tesco store to show shoppers how much unnecessary packaging the average shopper's groceries contained.

Volunteers from the group's Plastic Free Chepstow campaign greeted shoppers outside the supermarket and invited them to remove needless packaging from their shopping and leave it at the shop for recycling.

Graham Eele, co-ordinator of Plastic Free Chepstow, said: "295 billion pieces of plastic are thrown away in the UK every year, and most of these are used for just a few minutes. We wanted to draw attention to just how much plastic is involved in the average shopping trip."

READ MORE: Transition Chepstow and town council host litter summit

The volunteers collected several hundred pieces of packaging – things like trays and bags from pre-packed fruit and vegetables, bags from multipacks of snacks, wrap from kitchen rolls and packaging from hardware items. They talked to more than a hundred shoppers, many of whom were surprised by the sheer volume of plastic in their trolleys.

"We had a fantastic response from shoppers," Mr Eele said. "Many of them felt really strongly about the issue, and took the opportunity to make suggestions to Tesco. For example, many people commented that more fruit and vegetables should be sold loose with customers encouraged to bring their own bags.

"We are grateful to Tesco for giving us this opportunity. We'll be sharing customers’ comments with them and look forward to a dialogue about reducing plastic."

– What can you do?

Transition Chepstow organises monthly litter-picks to clean up areas of Chepstow, and aims to reduce the town's use of single-use plastics.

The group offered the following tips to people who would like to cut down on plastic packaging:

  • Buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible using your own bags.
  • Bring your own containers for meat, fish and deli products.
  • Try to avoid over-packaged items.
  • Avoid throwaway cups and water bottles.
  • Tesco are happy to accept plastic film etc for recycling.
  • Tell the supermarkets how you feel.
  • Tell your AM what you think – call for reductions in single-use plastic, a deposit return scheme and a "latte-levy" on single-use coffee cups.