WILTSHIRE Council leader Philip Whitehead knows his onions when it comes to selling vegetables as he once worked on a market stall.

Now he is calling on shoppers in Wiltshire to use their people power to get supermarkets to stop selling fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic.

Cllr Whitehead told the audience at Devizes Area Board last week that if they wanted the produce that was ready wrapped they should leave the packaging behind.

This week he clarified his remarks and said: “I am not suggesting they should just dump the plastic in the aisles but if they don’t want it they could leave tell staff they were leaving it behind.

“I think people underestimate how much influence they have on supermarkets. If everyone only bought loose fruit and vegetables the supermarkets would soon get the message.”

Cllr Whitehead, who as a young teenager spent his Saturday mornings working on a fruit and veg stall in Barnsley market, said: “We always put the potatoes on the side of the stall as that is what people bought first as they put them at the bottom of their bags as they were dirty and then put the other vegetables on top. We should go back to the old way of doing things.

“I always buy loose fruit and vegetables and use a bag that I have had for years.”

He gave his views on plastic packaging in supermarkets when he was questioned about Wiltshire Council’s plastic recycling policing and was asked if householders could have extra bins.

He said: “We don’t want to give people an extra bin we want them to stop buying so many things that are wrapped in plastic.”

He admitted that one of the driving factors for the clampdown was about saving the council money as well as saving the planet.

He said: “I don’t want to come over as an eco warrior. But this makes sense all round.”

Wiltshire Council says it has invested heavily in recycling and is always looking at ways to improve.

A spokesman said: “We keep a complete audit trail of where all materials collected are recycled and produce an annual report.”

The council says people can have up to two wheeled bins for recycling cardboard, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays and food cartons. Householders can also have up to two black recycling box for recycling cans, glass, paper and clothes.