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Comment: Remember the 10p returnable bottle?

I'd like to think of myself as quite a forward-thinking person. Indeed I positively enjoy progress and I am addicted to many of the latest gadgets.

Yet the more time I spend in this job, the more I think that sometimes we need to look at what our parents and grandparents did when it comes to making the most of our resources.

We live in perhaps the most prosperous times ever - and what does this mean? More waste.

Almost everybody I know buys trolley-fulls of food from the supermarket covered in layers of packaging.

Then we take it home, let some of it rot in the fridge or cupboard and then throw it away. Are we too prosperous for our own good that we can afford to do this? It is madness.

I'm trying to be more sustainable when it comes to food buying, and so I spoke to my grandmother about how she used to, and still goes about getting her three square meals. Like most of us, she does her supermarket shop and bungs a load of stuff in the freezer.

But before she goes to the supermarket she plans what she needs and works out each meal for the week. So this means that she might buy her basics in bulk at the supermarket and pick up fresh fruit and vegetables when she needs them every day or two.

I've been following this approach recently and it works. Not only am I no longer wasting lots of food, I'm also saving quite a bit of money. And it is really easy to do. It takes me no more than five minutes to pop into the local shop on my way home from work to get a couple of bananas and some salad.

But there are also other things we might be best doing again. As a kid I remember taking old lemonade bottles back to the shop and getting 10p for the pleasure. Why doesn't this exist anymore?

Are we so wealthy that we won't bother?

Maybe if a 10p premium was added to all products that could be recycled more people would return them. I'd certainly be more inclined to return the empty cans, empty plastic and glass bottles if I knew I was getting a few quid back on them.

Anything else could be stuck in the recycling bag and stuck outside on the kerbside and, as a last resort, with the remainder of the rubbish.
I guess I am suggesting that just like the Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment directive, those who create the packaging should be responsible for it. So, we'd return it to them via the supermarkets.

I'm sure all of these would complain - maybe except for the consumers who would be getting some cash back - and local authorities who would have less waste to deal with.

But it is the manufacturers and retailers who are supplying all this packaging and I don't want it, but have no choice. I'm sure they'd reduce it if it kept coming back to them to deal with.

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