Momentum builds in small businesses to curb plastic use

28th January 2018 | Recycling

Shops and cages across Wales are stepping up efforts to reduce plastic waste, with some finding it can even boost business. Retailers reported a shift in attitudes, with consumers making a conscious decision to reduce their plastic footprint.

“Yes, it’s good for business,” greengrocer Joel Preece said. “We sold a lot more vegetable boxes after a Facebook post on the amount of plastic in supermarkets.” High profile campaigns and the BBC’s Blue Planet II series have led to a surge in public awareness of the damage caused by single-use plastics.

Strawberry Fields, the independent greengrocer in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, owned by Mr Preece, sells almost all of its produce loose. “People notice how much [plastic waste] comes from veg and fruit,” he said.


He pointed out wrapping products such as swede and cauliflower in plastic was “literally pointless” and added wholesaler could provide smaller fruits in cardboard, rather than plastic punnets.

The growing environmental concern has also been good news for Woodman’s Dairy, in Rumney, Cardiff, which said it had been “inundated” with delivery calls as people choose glass over plastic bottles. Meanwhile, Port Talbot florist Laura Bowyer Sansom saw a boost in customer interest after replacing the cellophane usually used to wrap bouquets with brown paper. “People quite like the natural look,” she said, adding that she now has no black back wastage from the shop at all.

Wales currently boasts the highest recycling rats in the UK and the carrier bag charge has been a huge success. While efforts by small businesses to tackle the problem of plastic waste can go a long way, campaigners are calling on the Welsh Government to do more.

Around 725,000 plastic bottles a day are used in Wales and it is estimated that only 50% of these are currently recycled, according to Recycle for Wales. The remaining bottles end up as either litter or landfill.

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