Mr Green has a rant about our disposable culture

Filed in Blog, Videos by on December 22, 2010 12 Comments
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Mr Green with his disposable item

Mr Green with his disposable item

As you may remember from the other week, I had a bit of a bee in my bonnet about a couple of excessively packaged items I found.

First was a pomelo. These citrus fruits come with their own packaging – a tough skin designed to withstand damage. But Lidls saw fit to shrink wrap it, put a net around it and attach a plastic handle. Excess packaging at its worst.

Then there were one of Little Miss Green’s favourites – a box of crisps.

You’d think crisp packets inside a cardboard box would suffice, but not for Golden Wonder – they saw fit to give us two lots of 20 packets which were in large cellophane bags. More excess packaging.

This week we were in Morrisons. Our local store is having a makeover and it’s doubling in size. This meant our shopping took twice as long as usual because we couldn’t find anything. Nice tactic from the retailer for making us buy more!

It was Mr Green who spotted this little beauty on the shelves, and I’m afraid he had a bit of a Victor Meldrew rant about it.

Take a look and see what he found nestled on the shelves at Morrisons. In it’s original, reusable form it’s something I’ve secretly always wanted to adorn my dining table, but we won’t be buying this modern, ‘convenient’ version 😉

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Janet says:

    Yes, I saw this in Morrisons and for the price you could just get the the same but reusable in The Works.
    What a waste.

  2. CarSue says:

    I think the worst is paper plates, plastic spoons, and paper napkins that get carted out at every social gathering, in the home or office! We’re having a Christmas party tomorrow, so I went to the second-hand and got little porcelain cake plates for a dime each and a package of forks for 2 bucks (U.S.) What a bargain! Best is, our second hand buys back from you, so I can either keep the plates/forks for the next party, or free up cupboard space by returning, so it’s like renting from the store.

    You’re absolutely right to be disgusted, Mr. Green! The fact that manufacturers still tout how convenient their disposable products are is damn near criminal! I hope you did buy it to return dirty 🙂

  3. Julie Day says:

    Plastic packaging gets everywhere. I can see why he got angry about it as I know you can buy those things on their own without packaging.

  4. Attila says:

    So is it cardboard or plastic? We have a Morrisons but I’m not going in just to look at it! The thing that really hacks me off is that Asda sell some of their free range eggs in a plastic box.

  5. Chris says:

    Carsue you remind me of when I did the refreshents for a touring panto in community centres and church halls. The cats donated cakes and we used the serving plates, side plates and tea cups provided and then washed them up resulting in zero waste!

  6. Poppy says:


    I prefer *cats* 😀 😉

    I saw one of these stands a few days ago. They appear to be aimed at the revived cup cake market. lovely cakes, but I’m sure a slice on a china plate would do the job just as well.

  7. Antonio Pachowko says:

    My experience with supermarkets are not favorable and I have made a number of complaints against Tesco and Sainsbury’s mainly for selling Out of date (beyond the use by Date) and pricing issues, which is beyond my comprehension.

    Firstly you got to understand how supermarkets work. They tend to use a top heavy management system i.e all pricing and instruction comes from the head office down to the local store and so in effect the store management is only dealing with local problems and not major problems such as pricing and offer issues. The manager is in fact a puppet and does not have any real power. In my experience it is hard work to get the supermarkets to correct pricing errors or deal with any other issues as

    1) The staff do not care or seem to understand

    2) The management pretend to care but have no real power.

    3) Complaints to customer service is a waste of time as they don’t care and they have no williness to deal with the problem.

    4) it takes many weeks of complaining but especially to the CEO than a result is possible, but they will say anything to get rid of you.

    Supermarket have too much power and very little reason to listen to customers.

    Any Road the best way to get a product out of the store is not to buy it and if sales are very low the shelf space will be replaced with other products. That is the only thing that can be done, complaints to managers and CEOs would be a waste of time.
    PS Do the Managers/security personnel mind you bringing in a Video camera into stores, as this may look odd?

  8. MsWanda says:

    I went to a supermarket the other day and got a pastry and put it in one of those little plastic bags (they’re useful for various other things round the house so I like to keep them). When I got to the til the guy tried to put it in another plastic bag. Why would I want two plastic bags to carry one small pastry?

    I’m with you on the packaging rant!

  9. John Costigane says:

    Seasons greetings to the Green family and to Zero Waste enthusiasts (bless them all!).

    Disposable is a term used less frequency of late but the plastic industry seems to want to return to the good old days (for them). For me, “disposable” should be applied to the unthinking, unsustainable use of plastic, leading to the current mess locally and worldwide. Mr Green’s Return To Sender attitude should encourage others to follow suit. I find it a very useful approach for Junk Mail.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Janet: Hi Janet, I agree; the ‘real’ stands are lovely; very kitsch 🙂
    @CarSue: What a brilliant sounding store Sue; I hope you had a lovely celebration.
    @Julie Day: It was the actual item, Julie; being not the packaging (although you’re right; that’s bad too!)
    @Attila: We didn’t even investigate I’m afraid. I *think* it might be cardboard, but then again it looks like it might be plasticised; perhaps it is as you’d be putting cakes on which would have butter and eggs – they’d damage cardboard. He was just incensed about the whole ‘disposable’ idea when a pretty china plate would be lovely. Really bad news about the eggs; I would be fuming if I saw them!
    @Chris: Sounds great, Chris; just like the good old days, eh?!
    @Poppy: Don’t get me wrong Poppy; I LOVE the idea of a cute three tiered stand, but I want it to become a family favourite, not a disposable plate. I love CATS too!
    @Antonio Pachowko: Hi Antonio, we have asked before in stores about using video / cameras and always had a good response (but we’ve never told them we’re about to rant about one of their products 😉 )
    @MsWanda: Aaaaargh! Those situations *really* get me going! I hope you came out with only one bag!
    @John Costigane: Seasons greeting to you too, John; I hope you had a great Christmas. Love what you have said about disposable should not be an option …

  11. Teresa says:


    I once went into a bakery to buy a sausage roll. It was displayed in a bag with a flimsy plastic film on one side and paper on the other. When I bought it the assistant put it into a bigger bag and then into a horrible flimsy plastic bag. I took the sausage roll out of the plastic bag and put it back on the counter but kept the paper bags. That was the first time I gave a plastic bag back to the assistant who served me. It was back in 2007 when people were getting more aware of the ubiquitousness of plastic carrier bags but shops were handing them out more and more even for a packet of crisps.

    In the 1980’s I had to buy a few things before I was given a free plastic bag and once at a summer fayre I was buying one thing from different stalls as I hadn’t brought my back pack or nylon holdall with me and was having to carry them all in my arms until one stall holder took pity on me and gave me a plastic carrier bag.

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