Hundreds of people turned out en masse this weekend to make a stand against single-use plastics at Tesco stores.
Nearly 400 people visited the ‘unwrap’ campaign, organised by Plastic Free North Devon, at Tesco stores in Braunton, Bideford, Ilfracombe, Barnstaple Rose Lane and Barnstaple Tesco Extra stores on Saturday.
Those joining in were encouraged to buy staple items such as fruit and vegetables and sliced bread, and then join the group outside to unwrap them of their unnecessary plastic.
Overally there were 3,283 pieces of non-recyclable waste collected. Braunton’s store saw the busiest turnout, with 160 people attending and 1,500 pieces of waste amassed.
Andrew Cross was at the ‘unwrap’ at the Bideford store, and said the uptake had been pleasing.
“Lots of people have been interested and this is about engagement,” he said.
“We are not going to change the world this morning but we are going to educate some people that had no idea how difficult the problem is.
“People don’t always know and think all plastic just gets recycled, but it doesn’t. The percentage that is covering products that’s not recyclable is overwhelming.
“People have been coming up and saying thank you, well done, keep going and how great it is that we are bringing awareness.”
Claire Moodie, of Plastic Free North Devon, thanked everyone for turning out to the events and showing their support.
“The amount of non- recyclable waste collected in the space of two hours across the stores is a stark representation of how ingrained and normal the use of over-excessive plastic packaging has become in our society,” she said.
“It reminded us all of how much work there still is to be done if we really want to turn the tide on plastic.
“Not everyone was interested in what we were doing, some people didn’t understand, but lots of people did and that number is rising.
“Our intention was to raise awareness, bring people together and give the local community the opportunity to make their voice heard to remind them that they are not alone with their concerns.
“Our voices together are having a tremendous impact we just have to keep using them.”