Why sell vegetables when you can sell vegetables in plastic?

March 15, 2024 by Joshua
in Doof, Nature, Tips

Quadrillions of pieces of plastic apparently aren’t enough. We keep making more. I’ve written about how every single item in every cart I saw in a trip to a supermarket was packaged, mostly in plastic. I wrote:

For an informal survey, I went to a supermarket to observe the items in at least 100 shoppers’ carts. I didn’t make it all in one trip and lost count, but have passed 100 carts.

Every item in every cart was packaged. Even fresh produce was put in plastic bags (plus all the ones I saw in the produce aisle had stickers). I’m sure some shoppers buy produce without packaging, but all the ones I saw put theirs in plastic bags.

I followed up by asking and answering What is right amount to pollute? Zero is the only answer that sustains human life.

I happened to visit the supermarket where I did that informal survey. There was once a refrigerated section with fresh produce. They replaced it with this:

What little they sold without plastic they now sell with plastic. Refrigeration and plastic are pitched as keep produce fresh longer and reducing waste, but their systemic effects are to

  • Lengthen supply chains
  • Create less-fresh produce
  • Increase food waste
  • Increase plastic pollution

Partial solution:

Farmers markets, coops, and CSAs work better. You don’t have to respond with the knee-jerk, “not everyone can.” Everyone knows, but if you can shop at them, you’ll reduce waste, save money, and increase access for people who can’t. Shopping at stores like this one cause that lack of access and create poverty.

I recommend avoiding anything wrapped in plastic. It will seem impossible until you do it. Then you’ll never go back.

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