The way some fresh produce is sold in supermarkets is the very definition of excessive plastic packaging: individual pieces of fruit wrapped in plastic foil, sometimes even with an added Styrofoam tray! Perhaps the most baffling is the practice of using this kind of packaging for produce that is never eaten with the peel, which pretty much makes it have its own natural “packaging” already … like bananas. Fortunately, the redundancy and massive wastefulness of wrapping fruit and vegetables in layers of plastic is now slowly coming to the light. British supermarket chain Iceland has just put an end to its custom of selling bananas in plastic, replacing the plastic wrap with a simple paper label.
According to the company, the move from needless plastic to a paper band will save 10 million plastic bags a year, Evening Times reports. The new and improved packaging has been launched in three Iceland stores as a trial and will extend to 120 stores later this week. A national rollout is planned for the end of the year.
Th banana band is the first product in a major U.K. supermarket to have the Plastic Free Trust Mark created by the group A Plastic Planet. The retailer also pointed out that the move was part of its larger commitment to remove all plastic from its own-label packaging by 2023.
“People have become so used to buying their products wrapped in plastic, or indeed using plastic bags for loose produce, and this has to stop if we are to turn down the tap on plastics,” said Richard Walker, Iceland’s Managing Director. “This move alone will have a significant impact on our plastics consumption and is one of the first of many solutions that are in development. Our customers support our move to reduce single-use plastic and we are pleased to share this important milestone, with many more to come.”
Iceland not only made the switch in its stores but also urged other supermarkets to do the same – especially since a total of 420 million packs of prepackaged bananas are sold in the U.K. every year.
A similar environmentally-friendly step was taken recently by another British supermarket, Waitrose, which replaced plastic bags on its Duchy Organic bananas with a sticky band. The company stated that the switch would save eight tons of plastic a year and was a temporary solution before the introduction of compostable bags.
In some cases, plastic packaging can be avoided – like when we have a choice of whether to buy prepackaged or loose produce. In others, it is often very difficult or even impossible to find a product we want in another kind of packaging. The important thing is to go for the plastic-free option whenever we have the chance to and use simple alternatives to plastics in our everyday life.
If you are looking for more ways to reduce the amount of plastic you use and throw away, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: Iceland Foods/Facebook