Back To The Future.
Growing up in the 1980's whilst at school In 1985 I started my part-time job with Safeway Foodstores Ltd as it was known back then. It was when its parent company was still in the US. I started to think about how much of the fresh produce was not wrapped in a plastic bag back then. In fact most of the fruit and vegetables were sold loose and customers could choose the exact amount of apples or potatoes they needed. So there was much less food waste in peoples homes.
I can remember very clearly how impressive it looked when I entered the store first thing in the morning to see these amazing displays of hand stacked colourful fruit and vegetables. I can remember the smell of the freshly baked bread that was made in-store from scratch, not like in many supermarkets today where the product is only finished off in-store. Most of the cheese and cooked meats were bought from the deli counter. Over fifteen colleagues worked behind that counter on a Saturday and it was non- stop. That tells you how busy they were and the pre-packed meat section was an awful lot smaller than those of today.
The meat department had proper trained butchers in store. I can remember lamb, pig and half cow carcasses coming in on the delivery lorries ready for the butcher's to carve. I can remember that a majority of the empty apple boxes were put out by the checkout so customers could pack their shopping in them. Supermarkets can't do that now as the health and safety brigade class it as a fire hazard.
We also had the famous Safeway brown paper bags for customers to pack their shopping in. All the other waste cardboard was recycled and other salvaged packaging was shipped back to the depot in the empty Safeway delivery lorries, not a multitude of different rubbish trucks which guzzle around the country. One for recycled materials, one for landfill etc. Back in those days most people still had their milk delivered in glass bottles by the milkman. The empty bottles were washed and then picked up by the milkman for reuse, who used an electric powered milk cart. There was still the soft drinks man who used to deliver bottles of pop each week and again the empty bottles were washed and collected by the man. You would get your 10p a bottle deposit back for each bottle returned.
When I was ten I was able to walk to and from school each day, about a mile or two in distance. So Young children were probably a lot fitter than some today. It was only a few who were driven to school. There were local bobbies walking their beat and visible to all. The reason for my reminiscing is that looking at the news with all the XR protests where they blame the older generation for the state of the environment Is a grave misjudgement. Over the 36 years since I first started working, the over regulation of how food is displayed and sold is a disgrace. The EU rules on the regulation of fruit and vegetable size, also the shape has caused tremendous amounts of food waste. It's good to see some supermarkets now selling wonky fruit and vegetables.
The increased use of plastic bags became much worse throughout the late nineties and the noughties. Some people say that we should be looking forward not backwards, but I say yes let's go forward but let's bring those things that worked in the past with us. I feel that we as a society had much more freedom of choice in lots of everyday activities in our daily lives. Surely to bring those things that worked and those freedoms of choice with us now can only benefit society and the environment for everyone.
Glenville Gogerly EADW - Libertarian Party Chairman.