7 fruit and veg often wrapped in single-use plastic, that really don’t need it

Single-use plastic and its environmental and social impact is inescapable right now. This week alone, it entered the Collins dictionary as “word of the year”. Then, Budgens became one of the world’s first supermarkets to install plastic-free zones, and presenter Julia Bradbury raised the fact Tesco has been selling kiwis wrapped in plastic, alongside a plastic spoon. That’s double plastic for a fruit that’s actually pretty happy in its own skin…

What’s doubly confusing, is that some veggies are left alone, with nothing but their own skins encompassing them –  take aubergines, all glossy and smooth, fresh ginger, carrots, garlic, lemons and sweet potatoes – while others are mysteriously, and arbitrarily clothed in plastic.

Sure, there are fruits that require a bit of support so they don’t get bruised or mush up against one another – we’re looking at you raspberries and blueberries – but then again, you’d think card would do just as good a job as plastic (it works for figs, after all).

There’s no doubt though that there are many fruit and veggies needlessly wrapped in cellophane. Here are 7 that ought to be left to breathe…

1. Portobello mushrooms

While your standard closed cup mushrooms hang out waiting to be hand selected and popped in a biodegradable brown paper bag, their meatier brethren are subjected to a plastic tub and then wrapped in cling film. Why?!

2. Cucumber

Cucumbers are pretty sturdy, they might freeze to the back of your fridge occasionally, but they’re not exactly thin skinned and bruiseable. Also, you always end up eating little bits of plastic because the wrapper inevitably gets caught when slicing off a chunk for your cheese sandwich.

3. Tomatoes

Good tomatoes, ones with flavour and sweetness, should have a warmth to them. You just can’t tell if they’ve got any character from shuffling them around inside a plastic pack.

4. Parsnips

Parsnips, like carrots (which are mostly sold loose) are basically indestructible. Root veg is tough. Parsnips can handle being jostled about with their fellow root dwellers – a plastic wrapper is practically an insult.

5. Broccoli

This is an odd one. Why can you buy broccoli both loose AND constrained by plastic? Surely, if some brassicas can handle the light, the rest can too?

6. Bananas

Bananas come in perfectly designed bunches, with perfectly designed yellow skins – and they bruise with or without a plastic bag around them, so why bother?! Guaranteed, that plastic isn’t going to enhance your banana bread.

7. Avocados

Avocado packaging is some of the worst out there. They’re roughly as bruiseable as mangoes, which are mainly sold loose, and yet, avocados are often trussed up in three layers: Sat in a cardboard container, topped with a plastic mould to stop them wobbling about, and then the whole lot is sealed in plastic. It’s like a nonsensical pass the parcel.

- Press Association


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