I silently seethe when I go to the supermarket (as I plan to do after work today, FYI) and find all kinds of perishable goods wrapped up in plastic: apples, bananas, cucumbers, etc. Mother Nature (Bless her ingenuity) has provided all of these items with protective skin.
‘What a fucking waste of packaging,’ I mutter to myself self-righteously as I sancitmoniously fondle the produce.
According to the Financial Times seeing plastic at the end point actually means less of it was used in the overall process. Now I know.
According to one example cited in the article, they tried to get rid of the condom wrap on cukes. The cucumber growers argued that as a result more packaging was used: and the cukes suffered from a one-week loss in shelf life and frost damage.
And in fact, the loss of shelf life that results from unpackaging leads to wastage. Especially because you and me don’t live so close to the farm. In India, there is more than 50% loss in the supply chain. In the UK it is about 3%.
Apples, the fruit whose packaging gets me hottest under the collar, is a similar story. Helene Roberts, Head of Packaging at Marks & Spencer, found that wrapping apples four per paper tray and covered in plastic resulted in a 27% reduction in packaging.
So here’s me not getting hot under the collar when I see packaging anymore. Now I’m gonna get all fired up when I see food being wasted. Especially now that there’s a food crisis going on. And I will accept that packaging on the consumer end means a (likely) saving earlier on.
Waste not, want not. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. A broken clock is right twice a day. And a single swallow does not a summer make.