Supermarkets and the environment

I’ve often thought of major chain supermarkets being at the cutting edge of cost reduction, but our local supermarket has me puzzled about some of their wasteful methods that certainly aren’t environmentally sound either. It’s really time that these mega-businesses stepped up to the environmental awareness plate.

For example, the many meat and smallgoods cabinets are all upright, around 6 feet high, refrigerated.. and totally open. It makes me wonder how much electricity is wasted each year, the cold air, being heavier, literally falls out of the refrigerated cabinets; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I’ve also noticed the supermarket is now providing customers with smaller plastic bags – so more are needed to pack a customers’ order if they haven’t brought their own. The bags are sized so that they can’t really be reused as bin liners for many kitchen bins.

Each weekend, I purchase pizza rolls as a treat. Usually in other stores they are bagged up in lots of 4 (plastic bag). This store sells them loosely self-serve style, which still requires a plastic bag (and is somewhat unhygenic), but it also sells them in packs of 2 contained in a huge hardened plastic shell. The shell is about 33% larger that the rolls are; but the incredibly crazy thing is it’s far cheaper to buy 2 rolls in this way than to buy them loosely and with less packaging – even if you purchase in bulk.

These are just a couple of examples. This supermarket is certainly doing itself out of cash and having a terrible unnecessary impact on earth’s resources. I’m sure I’m not the only one who notices these types of things, nor is this the only supermarket engaged in such environmentally unsound behavior. Perhaps it’s time we all started writing to the major supermarket chains to express our displeasure.

Have you tried writing to your supermarket about environmental concerns? What was their response?

And getting away from the negative side of things, I’d love to hear stories about the positive moves you’ve seen supermarkets undertake to lessen their environmental impact. I’d like to collect these to shoot off to our chains – perhaps they may learn something and take heed of those earth friendly lessons.