A Llandrindod Wells business is urging customers to ‘think local’ to help reduce the mounting environmental problem of plastic waste.

Jess Curtis, owner and manager of Park Crescent based speciality grocer La Vide Verde, says 2018 could be the year consumers get serious about plastics after last week’s announcement from Iceland Foods that they intended to eliminate plastic packaging from their stores by 2023.

“It needs to start with the bigger companies. So much packaging is unnecessary and it’s about finding alternatives,” she said.

“I do understand the issues the larger stores face as they have stuff in storage for such a long time. What you find when you shop in smaller, local stores is that the produce is much fresher and hasn’t been sat around, so we don’t really need the level of packaging that the larger stores have to use for food safety and things.”

The campaign to reduce plastic waste was given the spotlight earlier this month when David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet’ documentary concentrated on the amount of plastic currently find its way into the oceans, while other large food retailers have responded to Iceland’s packaging announcement with initiatives of their own.

Up to 12 million tons of plastic goes into the oceans every year, and it is estimated our seas now contain around 51 trillion microplastic particles.

The issue is now of concern to increasing number of consumers, and Jess believes the key to reducing the problem starts with consumer choice.

“We’ve been bowled over by people’s comments, people are really passionate about it. But people still need some help in knowing where to reduce it, so I’m hoping local business can help people make those decisions. People really enjoy shopping with us, making up their own boxes of fruit and veg and it generates no packaging at all.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government was to announce a 25-year plan to improve the UK’s environmental record in the new year. Alongside other measures the government is understood to be planning to introduce refundable deposits on plastic drinks bottles.