THE Co-op at Bolton Bridge is the first supermarket in Ilkley to participate in a Mass Unwrap.

A trolley full of unnecessary plastic was removed from purchases in just two hours on Saturday, highlighting the need to rethink packaging.

Wharfedale Tackles Plastic (WTP) with Plastic Free Ilkley and the Co-op held a plastic Mass Unwrap at the store on March 9. Shoppers were encouraged to unwrap purchases and leave any non-essential plastic to be counted at the end of the session. Less than 20 per cent of the packaging collected was recyclable.

“Our local stores are making genuine efforts with sustainability plans. We are hoping that our actions will spur them, and their suppliers on, to make more and faster changes in their packaging policy,” said event organiser Anne Cuthbertson from Wharfedale Tackles Plastic.

“Ingenuity and research into creating more environmentally friendly packaging is flourishing, but right now there is enormous discrepancy between what stores are providing and we as customers want. There is still plastic that can’t be recycled through Bradford Council and recycling is not the ultimate answer to the problem of plastic waste; innovation and using less non-essential plastic, is.”

This is the first year that Ilkley has participated in this national campaign, instigated by Surfers Against Sewage. Members of the Ilkley Grammar Schools Eco Committee came along to support the event. “It’s good to see Ilkley residents making a stand on plastic pollution and we are proud to be part of this initiative,” they said.

The world recycles just 14 per cent of the plastic packaging it uses. The remainder is landfilled, incinerated or littered. Not only is this a massive loss to the economy but packaging is a major component of marine pollution across the globe. It escapes into oceans as litter, dropped not only on beaches but in towns and cities too. Poorly managed bins and coastal landfill sites are another source of escaped waste. Adding to our awareness of the devastating impact of plastic on wildlife is the latest evidence that plastics have entered the human food chain.

If you want to be involved in the campaign towards Plastic Free Ilkley, contact Wharfedale Tackles Plastic through its Facebook page or email or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for upcoming events