LAST week we asked Sunday National readers to choose which plastics issue to campaign around, and there was an overwhelming winner – 41% of people who took part in our poll nominated plastic food wrapping. Wrapping like cling film, shrink wrap around vegetables and plastic covers on ready meals all featured in the responses from readers.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “We welcome the Sunday National’s new campaign and will consider what more we can do.

READ MORE: Scottish firm Cuantec pioneers green food wrapping alternative

“Our expert panel on environmental charges is continuing to look at how we can use fees, charges and other measures to tackle our use of disposable items, including plastic packaging.”

Plastic food wrapping is clearly a worry for our readers. A report for Zero Waste Scotland in 2017 found that plastic films make up just over 85,000 tonnes, or 8% of the kerbside residual waste. Once carrier bags and bins liners are removed from this total, all other film, mainly food wrapping, comes to just under 57,000 tonnes. That’s an incredible 23 kilos of plastic film being thrown away by each household in Scotland each year.

The easy answer would be not to buy products with plastic film. But it’s almost impossible to achieve that – retailers, food producers and manufacturers are producing and using tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic wrap each year, which is turn fit into tightly controlled and timed supply chains.

Unless consumers demand changes to the way our food is sold en masse or we take on the effort as individuals to seek out alternatives little will change. And while independent retailers can provide a relatively light touch on what they stock in plastic, products sold in supermarkets are entombed in plastic wrap.

The Scottish Government is a founder member of an initiative launched earlier this year, the UK Plastics Pact, which brings together campaigners and major retailers for the first time to work towards a complete ban on single-use non-recyclable plastics. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Lidl, Pret, Waitrose and Aldi as well as major producers Britvic, Bird’s Eye, Coca-Cola, Cranswick, Nestle and PepsiCo have all signed up to the agreement.

Iceland, the frozen food specialist, have already announced it will eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own-brand products, and Morrisons customers can now use their own containers for meat and fish from counters, and are working through all of its own brand products to identify, reduce and remove any unnecessary plastic packaging.

The Scottish Government is one of several partners to the Plastics Pact. And in 2016 the Scottish Government also published its roadmap for a circular economy, “Making things last”, which emphasises producer responsibility towards stopping plastic entering the waste cycle.

Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “It’s great to see Sunday National readers wanting action on the sea of plastic surrounding our favourite foods.

“Supermarkets need to listen and take responsibility for the plastic they’re forcing us to take home with us when we do our shopping.”