Sat, May 04, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Greenpeace Taiwan bemoans use of plastic at stores

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Nearly 77 percent of food products at hypermarkets have plastic wrappings, but most people are willing to buy fresh products without packaging, Greenpeace Taiwan said yesterday, urging wholesalers to stop using unnecessary packaging.

It is estimated that only 14 percent of the world’s single-use plastics are properly recycled, with 40 percent buried in landfills, 14 percent burned and 32 percent not handled correctly, Greenpeace Taiwan said, adding that plastic waste is affecting land and marine environments.

The group in March visited 70 stores owned by Carrefour Taiwan, Costco, RT-Mart, A-Mart, Pxmart, Wellcome Supermarket, Simple Mart, 7-Eleven and Family Mart to survey how vegetables, fruit, baked goods, cooked foods and eggs were packaged.

The stores were in the six special municipalities, as well as Yilan and Hualien counties, it said.

Of the 14,425 products it surveyed, 77 percent used bags or plastic containers, while some had more than two layers of plastic and impact pads, the group found.

While unpackaged foods are available at many hypermarkets, they still offer free plastic bags and cases, it said.

Carrefour has pledged to reduce waste as part of its corporate commitments, but its stores still use a lot of plastic packaging, the group said.

Nearly 82 percent of respondents to a poll said they supported stores reducing plastic packaging, while 77 percent said they would be willing to buy vegetables and fruit without packaging, the group said.

Conducted from March 20 to Saturday last week, the poll collected 1,068 valid samples from people aged 20 to 55 through online questionnaires. It has a confidence level of 95 percent.

Many are willing to use fewer single-use plastics due to increased awareness of environmental protection, Greenpeace Taiwan campaigner Chang Kai-ting (張凱婷) said.

As producers and users of many disposable plastic products, wholesalers and retailers should make it their corporate responsibility to scrap unnecessary waste and propose concrete plans to reduce plastic pollution, Chang said.

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