SHOPPING at farm shops and farmers’ markets can help the public to reduce the amount of waste they produce, the Farm Retail Association has claimed.

FRA chairman Rob Copley, owner of Farmer Copleys in Pontefract, said: “A huge number of these farm-to-fork businesses have traditionally had less plastic produce packaging than supermarkets, and many have made an increased effort over the last 12 months.

"Customers can just choose the produce they want and use paper bags rather than plastic. By re-using produce boxes and egg boxes as well as moving to paper bags, one of our members Minskip Farm Shop in North Yorkshire estimate they have reduced their own waste by 45% since 2017,” said Mr Copley.

Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers to many farm shops, and some have dried goods dispensers for customers to use. FRA member Milly Stokes, of Farndon Fields Farm Shop in Leicestershire, said: “We reuse all our produce boxes for customers to carry their shopping home. We also buy bulk dried goods and display them loose in glass jars, our customers can re-fill their own containers. All our deli counter items are wrapped in brown or greaseproof paper. We have had an overwhelming positive response from customers for our recent changes to 100% eliminating single use plastic.”

Mr Copley agreed: “It is up to retailers to lead the way in reducing waste in store, which makes it easier for customers to reduce their own waste at home. As farmers and retailers, we are all about getting our produce from the field to our customers as quickly as possible and reducing waste along the way is part of our mission.”

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