Page 2 - Moravian Messenger July 2019
P. 2

Since the end of Lent, I have continued my mission of reducing purchases of plastics with my shopping. What it has left me with is a deep cynicism about the behaviour of our supermarkets and a realisation that there must be significant legal changes and massive consumer pressure to reduce the amount of plastic that is used in our retail chain. Part of my strategy has been to buy from the counters at the supermarkets rather than just taking items counters in rigid plastic containers off the chilled food aisles. However, this has been an eye opener.
Two recent examples: at Tesco's I wanted to buy some olives and went to the counter to buy them loose in a bag as I had forgotten to bring a tub with me. However, they would only sell the olives by volume in their own small or large tub which were bar coded on the base. I declined and went to the customer service desk and explained I was trying to reduce my use of plastics and so wanted to know why I could not buy the olives by weight in my own container. The staff said that they would pass the message on to the manager and I could speak to him when I next came in. I then asked if I could hand back some of the packaging, I did not want to take home and they said I could give the excess packaging back to them and they would put it in the company waste disposal system. At Sainsburys my husband went to the meat counter and asked for chicken breasts and to his amazement the staff at the counter went to the back and pulled out plastic boxes of chicken, exactly the same type as on the shelves, and opened them up to serve the chicken breasts in a plastic bag. We then realised that the chicken breasts and probably many other meat items come fully pre-packed from the processers. But in this instance, there was a small victory as Sainsburys must pay for their waste disposal and the opened plastic container of chicken had to go back into their waste disposal rather than our bin.
There are of course other supermarkets and I am sure that similar issues arise with them. Supermarkets exist to make a
profit and the packaging they use are designed, of course to protect the product but also to enhance the product and encourage impulse purchases. Another benefit to them of pre-packaging is that staff interaction with customers is reduced so you can run the shop with fewer staff. Supermarkets will not change their ways unless laws are passed forcing them to reduce unnecessary packaging. Consumer pressure can aid this by customers refusing to take excess packaging home.
The frightening thing is that the growth of the use of plastics shows no sign of slowing; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says that the volume of plastic waste is predicted to rise three- fold in coming years. The economic and environmental cost of the disposal of plastic is not built into the cost of its production so it can be churned out by producers and used by supermarkets and the rest of us without any thought of where it will finally end up, in the oceans, the atmosphere, in illegal dumps and in poorer nations. We are polluting and destroying the world that as Christians we believe God created.
I am going to continue shopping at local butchers, and using service counters in supermarkets, handing back packaging I don't want and discussing it with shop managers. I want to see less packaging and more staff in our supermarkets. I will be working to reduce plastics in all areas in my home and I have been so heartened to find others who are much further on this path than I am so please write in if you feel the same and share your experiences with us.
You can start to help buck the trend by ditching plastic water bottles and seek alternatives to all those goods that come to us in plastics - how did it happen that overnight we stopped using bars of soap and moved to plastic bottles of soap?
Sr Sarah Groves Editorial Team
Letter to the Editorial Team
Dear Editors,
We Christians must all agree that God's world, our home, is experiencing troubled times but not just in what is called the third world, and we expect their leaders to aspire to be as developed as we are with the fifth richest economy in the G20 down to G7 membership.
What kind of example are we offering the citizens of the countries the Unitas Fratrum supports? Do they see the same situation the U.N. Poverty Commissioner saw when he came to the U.K. last November: deprivation, inequality, homelessness, injustice and high levels of poverty? I don't know if the Commissioner is a Christian but for one moment imagine Christ walking with him last November.
As Christians, do we consider whether Christ approved of what he saw in our country?
One example Christ would consider is why is the ever- increasing number of food banks alongside the ever- increasing mountain of food waste so widely tolerated in what is a Christian U.K.?
Do you think Jesus might say it is time to seriously review our fully exploited wealth creation and distribution system? If not what, bearing in mind Christ's teachings, do you think he might say? Answers in letters to the Editors.
Br Alan Holdsworth

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