When you pop to the supermarket on your break to pick up a cheeky meal deal for your lunch, have you ever stopped to think about the lifespan of the plastic holding it altogether?
No, me neither to be perfectly honest. In fact, I’d say the majority of us probably don’t give it a second thought when we absentmindedly pick up our food, which is why plastic expiry dates have started popping up on products in UK supermarkets.
The plastic expiry dates have begun appearing on single use plastic meal deal packaging in a bid to bring awareness to consumers about how their use adds up to affect the planet. More than a thousand stickers have appeared this month in London supermarkets, predominantly in Shoreditch, Bank and Farringdon.
The stickers were the brain child of creatives Gagandeep Jhuti and Joe Foale-Groves, who noticed a disparity between supermarkets claiming their eco-friendly stances and the reality of the packaging they produce. So, the pair decided to create the expiry date stickers to call out supermarkets on their home turf.
Gags and Joe told UNILAD:
We found while working on adverts for supermarkets that they want to say they’re doing their bit for the environment, but just a glance into the meal deal aisle says otherwise.
What is perhaps most shocking about the plastic expiry dates is that single-use plastic is estimated to take somewhere between 500 and 1,000 years to break down. And, because plastic was only invented in 1907, that means the majority of plastic ever made is still on the planet.
While some plastic has been burned or incinerated, mostly in Europe and Japan, polyethylene struggles to break down at all once it has been sent to a land fill, due to a lack of oxygen and water.
The pair added:
So, imagine this. It’s the year 3019. Animals can now be tried in court. The prisons are overflowing with pigeons. You are no longer around. But the plastic water bottle you bought with your meal deal in 2020 has finally started to decompose. Even if the future isn’t quite as weird as that, it is true that your meal deal could be pretty much immortal.
At the moment we’ve been sneaking Plastic Expiry Date stickers onto meal deal items ourselves since the start of January, but loads of people have asked to join us in spreading stickers to their local supermarkets.
The ultimate goal would be for supermarkets to add the Plastic Expiry Date to packaging themselves, as well as hurrying to reduce single-use plastic packaging from their shelves.
It’s hoped the plastic expiry date stickers will make people stop and think what they’re buying when they pick up single-use plastic in the supermarket.
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