Why are my fruits and vegetables packed with so much plastic?

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Can you still remember the last time you go shopping and see lots of naked fruits and veggies, which means they are not packed with plastic packaging at all? I can't, at all. In Vietnam and many other countries, plastic packaging is wrapping almost everything we buy at supermarkets. This is insane! Do we seriously need individually wrapped banana or peeled citrus packed in plastic container? NO, WE DO NOT!

plastic fruit packaging
Plastic is everywhere in supermarkets (Source: Internet)

Firms must have their own reasons for packaging fruits and veggies with plastic packaging. Honestly speaking, not all plastic packages are equal and some of them are neceesary. So why are firms using so much plastic packaging?


Freshness

A number of products has short to very short shelf life, for example, cucumber will lose a huge amount of moisture and will last only 3 - 4 days on the shelf if it is not wrapped with plastic. Producers claim that with plastic wrap, the shelf life could be extended to 14 days! Oh well, is it?


Less spoilage

Small and loose items like berries, grapes and cherries could suffer from serious damage (that could lead to waste) if not packed, as hundreds of people could touch them daily while they are on shelves or they could be easily dropped and get ruined. Fair reason here!


Protection and Hygiene

A layer of packaging could prevent the items from risks of going to waste due to external resources like heat, moisture, odours, lights or hand touching. Plastic packaging is claimed to protect the products especially from bacteria and germs, so that consumers will be protected too.


Labelling

This seems to be one of the most important reasons nowadays, as transparency and origin of food are getting more and more important. Consumers would love to know everything about the products, see them (but not touch them). Producers also love to promote their brands and the nutrition of the products.

plastic vegetable
It is difficult to find vegetables without any plastic wrap! (Source: Internet)

Okay, so now we have known about the reasons behind plastic packaging for fruits and vegetables. Some reasons are fair and it is difficult to eliminate 100% all plastic packaging from the shelf. So what choices can we make?


Don't buy convenient sized/ready cut portions

Many supermarkets nowadays opt for more convenient choices, like ready-cut fruits, already-peeled vegetables, etc. for quick events like picnic or party. Try to put a bit more effort, buy naked choices and prep them yourself. You can also try to plan meals in advance or do a weekly grocery shop, so that you can buy in bulk and prepare for the whole week of food.


Prioritise eco-friendly packaging

Some supermarkets have difference choices for the same item, try to look for the one without plastic packaging. Ask the cashiers, they are really helpful! Sometimes, if I cannot find the items without plastic packaging, I simply ask them whether I can just take the item and the bags are returned/stored for another product. They actually say YES!


Another option is to buy from companies that provide plastic free veg boxes! They are great for the value and good for the environment. If you have any recommendation for a good supplier, please let us know at the comment below!


Reuse packaging

If you cannot find the loose items at all, it's okay, let's just buy the items for your special meal today. However, try to reuse the packaging. You can easily wash and dry it, then use it to store other items or wrap your next delivery box.


I hope you are doing great in this difficult journey! Help me SPREAD THE WORD and together we can make our ONLY planet a bit greener everyday! You can check out my Complete guide for beginner on Sustainable lifestyle and How I go shopping without plastic for more tips!


Love,

Tram Anh

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