The Observer view on the government’s environment and obesity plans | Observer editorial


Only when she tackles producers and retailers will May have workable strategies on recycling and healthy eating

Last week, Marks & Spencer withdrew the “cauliflower steak” from its shelves. Essentially a thick slice of cauliflower that came with a sachet of lemon and herb drizzle, the product was widely criticised for its excessive plastic packaging and sizable markup, retailing at a “special offer” price of £2.

That a retailer thought it saw an opportunity in marketing a slice of raw vegetable in this way reveals much, not just about our penchant for faddish food trends, but our attitudes towards waste. As a society, we produce far too much of the stuff: every year in the UK, 1bn plastic food trays are sent to landfill. We collectively throw away £13bn of food each year. Recycling rates in England lag far behind those of countries such as Germany.

The Observer is the world’s oldest Sunday newspaper, founded in 1791. It is published by Guardian News & Media and is editorially independent.

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