What Supermarkets Should Do to Help Our Planet
Supermarkets serve as an intermediate between the producer and the final customer. Supermarkets are centers of local goods distribution and they form the way of how goods and products will be distributed in the future. Their marketing strategies define how we see distribution, consumption, and how we form our consuming habits.
Although supermarkets are very handy and suitable for our life tempo, there’s something that makes them one of the biggest threats to the environment. The thing is that humanity doesn’t think about the consequences of its consumption habits. Regular customer doesn’t think where a used plastic bottle or disposal bag will end up or how his nutrition habits change our world for the worse.
Supermarkets For and Against
Supermarkets, from their side, worsen the situation by implementing and offering cheap or free disposable packaging made of low-quality and hazardous plastic. Now, almost any product is wrapped in disposable and unnecessary plastic packaging. We buy milk and beverages predominantly in plastic bottles, carry and store our greens and fruits in plastic packages, cheeses, hams, meat, and many other products are wrapped in food film and enormous amounts of tinfoil and dense plastic containers are being thrown away after the purchase.
Environmentally-Friendly Stores Are Rare in Today’s Economy
Our accustomed and the long-used consumption model doesn’t leave a place for new distribution patterns leaving eco-friendly shopping off-board. The only widely-implemented green innovation is environmentally-friendly shopping bags, or shortly – shoppers.
But such packaging is very handy considering the modern life tempo. We don’t even have time to think about our consumption behavior. We buy pre-packaged products or semi-finished foods to save time. Thanks to the supermarkets we can buy varied products and throw away single-use packaging without thinking about the consequences.
Consumption Behavior Harms and Destroys Our Nature
If only people knew how such consumption behavior harms and destroys our nature things would change forever. Wide masses are low-educated about the harmfulness and contaminating nature of plastic. Billions of disposable bags and bottles are released into the environment annually causing irreversible damage and contamination of the planet.
Oceans are polluted with trash. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch had been formed during the past decades occupying an area three times bigger than France. Marine animals getting trapped in the used fishing nets, six-pack holders, plastic bags, and other rubbish.
Giant landfills release vast amounts of CO2 and greenhouse gases – a chemical gas that is twenty-five times more dangerous than CO2 itself. Soil is contaminated to a depth from one to ten meters. Emitted plastic bags and other rubbish will decompose for centuries if not thousands of years. The worst and the most ridiculous part of it comes with the realization that all that contamination and irreversible harm could have been avoided. Mass economy and the production of cheap and low-quality goods provided such a wide usage of disposable items. If we will look a little bit deeper than usually we will see that mass customers can do without disposable items and packaging.
Disposable bags, bottles, packages, and other «free» items aren’t necessary. People can carry their own reusable bags and shoppers or use their own reusable cups and bottles. A great example of rational consumption could be witnessed in the milkman’s work. He drives from street to street collecting used glass bottles and replacing them with refilled ones. Although milk isn’t the most ecologically-friendly product, the point is that humanity can do without disposable bottles.
The Economy Develops in the Wrong Direction
Unfortunately, our economy develops in the wrong direction producing cheap, low-quality, and affordable products neglecting the quality and sustainability of the environment. People who care about the environment and tend to go for groceries with their own reusable bags and containers are perceived as outsiders and marginal persons.
Most people don’t understand why we should care and waste our time to find a way of how to avoid excessive disposable packaging. Plus to that, most supermarkets offer free disposable bags and packages so people could carry and store their foods with them. One thing people rarely know – the cost of all these «free» packages is included in the products’ cost.
People who care about the environment and try to implement some small steps to lower their carbon footprint and nature’s contamination, know that it is very easy to live an eco-friendly and low-waste life.
In recent years more people are getting interested in the maintenance of environmentally-sustainable lifestyles which excludes heavy for the environment products, disposable packaging, and other items, transports that emit high numbers of CO2, and other forms of environmental harm.
Due to that, many supermarkets try to comply with such an innovative and modern trend by implementing different measures which are meant to reduce the amount of disposable plastic and packaging. But there’s a big difference between what supermarkets should do to help our planet and what they’re actually doing.
By now supermarkets, shopping malls, and distribution centers try to sell green ideas and green products. Such behavior is called «greenwashing» – a consumption attitude that is aimed at making profits out of an environmentally-friendly and eco-sustainable way of living. Tending and modish goods are being sold to attract non-indifferent customers to the environment. But such an attitude only replacing one consumption pattern for another
Sustainable and green shopping stores exist in small numbers by now. Green shopping is becoming a trend and there are a few good signs that our consumption habits could be changed for the better.
It is hard to tell what exactly supermarkets should do to help our planet for numerous reasons. Firstly, an environmentally-friendly way of living is only coming into force and it is unknown which measures should be taken to get the best results. Secondly, food distribution is an integral part of the world’s economy and a one-time transition towards eco-friendly goods distribution is just impossible.
Despite that, numerous scientific studies were taken to find out how our accustomed consumption habits affect our planet. It is known that disposable packaging, cutlery, cups, bottles, wrapping, and containers are pure evil for nature so the first most logical move will be the replacement of these items for eco-friendly substitutes.
Paper bags and reusable bags can prevent the emitting of billions of disposable plastic bags into the environment. Some supermarkets have introduced a great idea of how such a measure could be implemented. For example, many European supermarkets had implemented a brand-new idea of crops, fruits, greens, nuts, and seeds distribution. A person comes and fills his own containers with what he needs with the help of special food tanks.
Supermarkets Are in Charge of Our Consumption Habits
Most people behave in accordance with generally accepted behavior models. If supermarkets will show to a mass customer how it is possible to do groceries more ecologically, the mass customer would adopt this behavior pattern.
Low-quality and disposable plastic isn’t dangerous only for the environment, it is dangerous for human health also. Disposable plastic releases toxins and chemicals and the packaged foods absorb these harmful compounds.
Some foods could be distributed and sold without plastic packaging. Nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, sugar, and salt could go in paper or carton. Beverages and liquids should be distributed only in glass bottles and tin cans to reduce the harm to our planet.
Promoting vegan and eco-sustainable nutrition is another way of how environmental harm can be reduced. Plant-based products could be sold without plastic and film packaging while meat, cheese, ham, and other animal-based products couldn’t go without plastic wrapping. Also, the production of plant-based products requires far less natural resources and could be stored much longer than animal-based products.
The Packaging Is the Main Source of Plastic Waste
Anyway, the packaging is the main source of plastic waste, and replacing it with eco-friendly alternatives will reduce the contamination levels in time. Paper bags, handbags, glass and tin containers, food tanks, promotion of plant-based nutrition, and other measures will help to reduce the amount of unnecessary and excessive waste.
Our consumption habits are stable and accustomed so all innovations must go through a rough selection. There’re eco-friendly alternatives mostly for any existing product from packed apples and bottled milk to shampoos and toothbrushes. The real problem lies in the indifference and ignorance of a mass customer. He doesn’t care about the environment and supermarket to almost nothing to change the current state of life.
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