-:- photography by Tim Kovar

Plastic packaging, part 2

plastic film from fruit
Just a quick handful of useless plastic on my way out of the grocery store.

Plastic is the junk to which our economy is addicted. Grocery stores want to wrap every head of broccoli in plastic film because it keeps them looking fresh for a few days longer. All all of us shoppers want our produce looking fresh and shiny.

But why do they wrap all the tomatoes? And put the tomatoes in little plastic trays, that they then wrap in plastic film? Shiny and fresh, and don’t touch the tomatoes before you buy them.

Spot the tomatoes that *aren’t* wrapped in plastic.

Talk about addiction: who’s the pusher that put a million crappy plastic bags next to all the fruit, so that people get in the habit of picking lemons and putting them in a bag, then bananas, and putting them in another bag. We’ve got to get off this habit, and stop businesses from pushing plastic on us.

Lemons don’t need a separate bag to get from the store to our door.
Ah, a bit of natural fibre to make us think ‘fresh and natural’ for a moment.

Check the bread section of your grocery store. Why do so many have those cheap plastic bags with thousands of little holes? Talk about useless packaging. But somehow people think it keeps their bread clean, or fresh, or something.

Bread bag with greaseproof insert. I can put this in my compost heap when it wears out.

Our Supervalu has nice little paper bags that I use three or four times each before they tear. Some of them have an insert of greaseproof paper because some designer thought it added an aesthetic touch. But on most of them they have a stupid plastic window that adds a ‘new product gloss’ to the item the shopper has just picked up from a lovely display of fresh bread. That’s a bad habit Supervalu should stop tomorrow.

Bread bag with a stupid plastic insert that has to go to landfill, while the other bag can go in my compost.

My friend in Canada just posted a picture from a store with all bulk goods: you bring your own reusable containers. We’re going to start a franchise here in Ireland when she gets back.

But to be clear, I have been going to the same Supervalu shop in Lucan for twenty years now. They used to have all loose fruit and vegetables that you selected and weighed on your own. I’m sure they have done the figures on how much gets damaged and just loses a bit of shine and so won’t be sold. In the short term world of profit, they decided to wrap virtually all of their fruit and vegetables in plastic so that they would have less damage and sell more.

Meanwhile, the cost of all that plastic is going to be paid by all of us. Future historians will look back in wonder at the way we used petroleum from the ground to create useless waste that is poisoning the planet.