Plastic stop: return to bulk – Italian Cuisine

Plastic stop: return to bulk

We are really overwhelmed by a sea of ​​plastic. And food packaging is literally invading the world. The first zero-packaging supermarket was born 5 years ago in Berlin: at the moment, unfortunately, it has not yet become the forefather of an army of shops that have banned plastic & c. Rather, disposable plastic reignswhile the plastic she was born to be a tool for the realization of long lasting products. The small portion sizes are getting smaller, the bulky packaging and the layers in which the food is wrapped increase. Top of the horror: 33 cl of water, or a third of a liter, or four sips of water, imprisoned in endless plastic bottles. It is also true, however, that the practice of offering bulk products is increasingly widespread. Even in large retailers. And thanks to consumers who appreciate its value,

At the same time, plastic-not plastic – biodegradable and even from renewable sources is now a reality. But it is certainly not the plastic currently used by the food industry – and by distribution chains. So for now it will not save the world.

Moreover only 9% of the plastic at the end of its use it was recycled, while 12% incinerated and 79% accumulated in landfills or dispersed in the environment, with serious damage for ecosystems. And the demand is constantly growing. The European Union has started a job to get todisposable removal; the problem is that rather than giving ‘recommendations’ to individual states. In short, the EU cannot lay down the law. The business yes, instead: the plastic market for 2020 is estimated at around 654.38 billion dollars and, by 2050, the share of hydrocarbons dedicated to plastics will reach 14%, compared to 6% in 2014. They are impressive numbers. But in the world they are forming unexpected awareness.

Even in our country, that is behaving well: Italy is one of the most advanced as for the fight againstdisposable and the recovery of plastics much better than the continental average, coming to 45% of recycling). And now it's time for the return to bulk, a practice that was the norm at the time of our grandparents. Pasta, rice, flour, beans, but also coffee, candy and detergents and more. Not only in ethnic shops, grocery stores, markets, direct producers or organic points – all to be re-evaluated, moreover. Even some supermarkets offers loose products, to be awarded.

Packaging is obviously not free for consumers, who actually pay them at a high price, included in the cost of the final product. Buying the bulk you save a lot. The consumer uses containers he already has (or sometimes data on loan from the point of sale) is choose freely among the products not overloaded by the price of the "packaging". Not only: choose freely the quantity of product to take home. Which is a great advantage, given that the counterpart of the single-dose in the large-scale retail trade are large packages and given that the purpose in large-scale distribution is to push the consumer to buy more than necessary, often one returns home with more than one's own needs. And maybe you end up throwing something away …

This smart way to shop it also has other advantages: you buy more directly from the manufacturer; the amount of waste in your own home is reduced, saving space and encouraging practicality (once you have organized yourself initially, it's really simple, and sometimes have less choice than the 2000 packs of different brands that basically offer the same product, it's just an advantage).

In supermarkets and standard stores, on the other hand, now even fruits and vegetables they are more and more often laid down like corpses (and in fact lose their vitality) on plastic coffins and wrapped in shrouds of the same material. Tip: at the supermarket, put the adhesive label directly on vegetables and / or multiple labels in a bag. Then notify the cashier and share the reason for your action! On the other hand, for fruits and vegetables it is still generally easier to find bulk wine. just choose the right retailer, and maybe take your own resistant shopping bags with you.

Even the wine it is increasingly loose: we are not talking about bag-in-boxes, but wine bars that sell it in cans or bottles that you bring from home, often have table wines that are more than decent and cheap.

From the North to the South, there are more and more points of sale who sell at least part of the bulk products. Do not underestimate the markets and the grocery stores or the ethnic shops that still have the old-fashioned FIBCs, with cereals, spices & c. And then in various places in the Bel Paese they are already born zero-packaging shops: from Mamma Natura to the DiVino Corner in Milan; Verdesfuso in Como and Verde Sfuso in Genoa; Mille Bolle in Mantova (detergents); Sacco Matto in Turin; Effe Corta in Milan, Padua, Capannori and Prato (where it is also outside the boxes); Ettogrammo in Verona; Verde Serre in Reggio Emilia; Bio-packed in Pisa; Pesonetto in Pesaro; Soaping in Rome, ProSud in Naples; All in bulk in Altamura; La Bottega del Pulito in Potenza; Enough in Spezzano della Sila; Light shop in Palermo. And it's just some, really. Explore your area and ask in bulk & on tap about your trusted stores!

Carola Traverso Saibante
June 2019


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