How a green campaigner saw red over coconut wrap

March 27 2018

A TWEET from a Voice writer has sparked national conversation about the unnecessary packaging that serves big companies at the expense of the environment.

A TWEET  from a Voice writer has sparked  national conversation about the unnecessary packaging that serves big companies at the expense of the environment.

Alex Morss, a naturalist and wildlife columnist for our sister paper South Bristol Voice saw red - or rather green -  in her local supermarket over a shelf of coconuts shrouded in transparent plastic and yet branded as a “Genuine Coconut” and a “Natural container”.

The coconut wasn’t just wrapped in plastic;  it also had with a plastic ringpull, allowing consumers to insert another piece of plastic – a straw – to drink the water inside. 

Alex tweeted Sainsbury’s and the coconut’s distributor, asking: “Could you please rethink your packaging @GenuineCoconut? This coconut is not sold in its natural container, without processing, as nature intended – your words. Plastic wrap / straws are not natural, sustainable or biodegradable. How can this be organic?” 

She didn’t expect her words to strike such a chord. Within hours they were being widely retweeted as the apparent absurdity struck home that one of nature’s most effective packages had been so wastefully tampered with.

Within two days, the story had been covered by just about every national newspaper, from the Daily Mail to the Independent, Daily Telegraph and the Metro.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV, where he agreed that the coconut’s extra wrapping sounded “daft”, and he promised to investigate. Almost every TV channel and national radio station also covered the story as the message hit home.

Sainsbury’s later responded that the packaging did help keep the coconuts hygienic, and made it last longer. But the story had clearly caught the public mood. The cat was out of the plastic carrier bag and people started demanding supermarkets provide a plastic-free aisle, an end to disposable plastic cups, more water fountains to reduce the sale of water in plastic bottles, and more. 

 

 

nWhat are people in Downend doing to help tackle unnecessary packaging? Write to us and let us know what you think!