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Avoiding a trip to the shop can mean a trip to the tip

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As it is not easy to get out for any length of time, I now do most of my non-food shopping on line.

Generally speaking, this works very well, and I have mostly good experiences.

Yesterday I sent for a wok. Our last one died of old age, several years ago, and since then I have managed with a large frying pan. OK, but not ideal, so I thought it was time for a treat.

I love prepping the veg for a stir fry (no packets for me, even though elsewhere I have sung the praise of convenience foods), and we both love eating them. They are also the best way of getting vegetables down Robert, as otherwise, through choice, his idea of 5-a-day would be 5 portions of oven chips.

So, having assured myself that it would be money well spent, I browsed, and found what I wanted on a website I had used before. The wok seemed of good quality, guaranteed for 10 years, was very reasonably priced, and delivery was free. Bingo. I placed my order. That was at3.45pm yesterday afternoon. The wok was delivered at 7 am this morning!

When I eventually got to unpack it, I was not disappointed. It is made of heavy gauge carbon steel, and the manufacturers claim it is virtually indestructible. I believe them It is so robust that I think it would happily double up as a lump hammer.

So,  why the packaging? It came in a box big enough to sit in, When I eventually penetrated the seeming miles of CARE! FRAGILE sticky tape (yes, fragile!) I found that at least 7/8ths of the box was full of large, fat, sausage style inflated plastic. Nestling in the middle of this was the wok, wrapped in a further 3 metres of bubble wrap.

The plastic would have taken up almost all of the volume of my wheelie bin, so I have tossed it into the car (with the back seats down) until I have the time and opportunity to go the council tip, a round trip of 16 miles.

As for the box, I managed to get it through the extra width back door – just- and it too will have to go to the recycling centre, as soon as I can find someone with enough muscle to break the stout cardboard up for me. 

An otherwise good shopping experience spoilt. By packaging! No wonder it gets such a bad press. We should not rest until we have fought manufactures and every else responsible for this madness.

To break down huge boxes you need to be strong. To dispose of it you need transport. To open a packet of razor blades, as I did this morning, you need Krypton factor skills. Even opening a packet of cheese, or batteries, or salami, can break finger nails.

So where does this leave the sick, the elderly, the disabled, the poorly sighted, the people with arthritic hands?

Coping with day's ridiculously difficult and often unnecessary packaging challenges even the young, fit and healthy.

I am pleased to note that WHICH are on the case. What can we ourselves do to bring about change?

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