Butcher joins fight to scrap use of plastic

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The trader is encouraging his customers to take their goods home in reusable containers rather than in plastic bags.

André Vitel, of AR Vitel Family Butcher, in St John’s Village, said that as a surfer he had seen the impact of the material in the world’s oceans and had felt compelled to act.

The butcher first tried to launch the idea last year, but it received little interest.

However, a post put on the business’s Facebook page on Monday has now been viewed more than 12,000 times and has been ‘liked’ nearly 300 times.

Mr Vitel said: ‘Sheena Brockie [an environmental activist and blogger] came here last year and we tried to launch it. She is very environmentally friendly too and we put signs in the window and a post on our Facebook page, but not one person came in with a container.

‘Then I saw David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II on the BBC and I thought to myself “I have got to publish this again on Facebook”.

‘I boosted the post [a service offered by Facebook to spread messages more widely] and by the end of Monday it had been seen by 12,130 people in less than 24 hours. I think about 20,000 people will have seen it by the end of the week given the numbers we had in a single day.’

The idea comes at roughly the same time that the States gave their backing to a local version of a national anti-plastic campaign, led by Surfers Against Sewage and environmentalist Sheena Brockie called ‘Plastic Free Coastline’. That campaign is also aimed at reducing the amount of plastic that Islanders use.

However, Mr Vitel said that the timing of the launch of the two schemes was a simple coincidence.

He said: ‘We have got to get plastic out of the oceans. I am a surfer and I have known about the issue for years. I have travelled to quite a few different countries and especially in places like Indonesia and in the Indian Ocean there is quite a bit of plastic floating around – it is horrible.

‘I would not say it is as bad in Jersey because of our tidal movements, but you do occasionally get a bag wrapped around your hand while you are paddling out.’

Mr Vitel also said that he hoped that the practice of taking reusable containers to his shop would become routine.

He said: ‘I might consider giving people a percentage discount if they used a [reusable] container, but I do not think that should be the main incentive. The incentive should be that we want to make the planet a better place.’

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