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    Proposed ban on plastic-packed fresh produce

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    UK is considering a ban on pre-packed fresh vegetables and fruits to combat the growing amount of packaging waste.

    The ban is expected to lead to a huge reduction in the thousands of tons of plastic packaging that end up in landfill or being burnt in the UK every year.

    According to a report in The Times, the government is considering ­introducing the new guidelines under which it will be made mandatory for stores to sell more loose fresh produce. In a return to traditional greengrocer methods, shoppers will have to pick exactly how much fruit or veg they want, ­instead of buying pre-packed larger quantities.

    The move is also expected to cut down on the amount of food being thrown away by encouraging people to buy no more than they need. Research shows that food waste amounted to 76kg (12 stone) per person in 2021.

    The plastic packaging crackdown has been recommended by the anti-waste charity Wrap, which advises the government, although it is believed that some delicate foods, such as soft fruit, will be exempt.

    Catherine David, the director of behaviour change and business programmes at Wrap, said, “We waste 12 per cent of the food that we buy, with an average household of four throwing away £1,000 of good food each year.

    “This is happening because our food system is making it hard for people to buy only what they need and to use more of what they buy.”

    Wrap has said that voluntary moves by the ­industry have been made too slowly to hit its target of 30 per cent of fruit and veg being sold without packaging by next year. It suggested in 2022 that as much as 80 per cent of packaging could be removed within three years.

    Figures released in November for the industry showed that 19 per cent of fruit and vegetables were being sold loose.

    Sir Robert Goodwill, a Tory MP and the chairman of the environment, food and rural affairs committee, said, “I welcome any attempts to reduce plastic packaging of supermarket food and ­allow more people to buy fruit and veg loose.”

    However, a British Retail Consortium spokesman stated that any rules should not go too far, saying “grocers are already facing very significant cost increases across the supply chain, it’s important any further regulatory burdens are proportionate.”

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