U.K. shoppers encouraged to bully manufacturers that create excess waste

Offering hope to scofflaws everywhere, U.K. Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw says British shoppers should leave “unnecessary and excessive” packaging at store checkouts and tattle on package-happy manufacturers. The government-sanctioned shop and skedaddle plan sounds delightfully naughty — particularly since manufacturers found guilty of overpackaging single items can be fined up to $9,500. Packaging waste in Britain increased 12 percent between 1999 and 2005, and one-sixth of the 5 million tons of rubbish generated by Brits every year comes from supermarket packaging. The country’s top 13 grocery retailers pledged last year to reduce waste by over 175,000 tons by 2008, but so far have eliminated only 38,000 tons. “Until the supermarkets demonstrate clearly that they are willing to lead by example, we cannot expect consumers to get fully engaged with reducing their own waste,” Bradshaw said. We’re so glad Spotted Dick comes in those tiny cans.