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Shopper shares photo of frustrating product found in grocery store produce aisle: 'If only nature made its own packaging'

Wrapping produce costs money, and that cost is passed on to consumers.

Wrapping produce costs money, and that cost is passed on to consumers.

Photo Credit: iStock

Plastic where no plastic is needed has become a serious problem in grocery stores around the world. Many items in the produce aisle naturally have their own tough skins or rinds — but more and more, companies are wrapping them up in unnecessary packaging. One fed-up Redditor shared a photo of a product that they found especially frustrating on a recent grocery store run.

What happened?

The post appeared in r/Anticonsumption, whose members hope to cut costs and protect the planet by reducing waste. Part of that is calling out companies displaying wasteful behavior.

Wrapping produce costs money, and that cost is passed on to consumers.
Photo Credit: Reddit

"If only nature made its own packaging," the original poster said sarcastically, attaching a photo of a Chinese Hami melon at a local store. The melon, produced by Ayco Farms, is wrapped in a black plastic net.

Ayco isn't the only company wrapping melons this way, either. Another frustrated shopper shared a photograph of a watermelon packaged with the same style of mesh.

Why does it matter if a melon is wrapped in plastic?

Wrapping produce costs money, and that cost is passed on to consumers — so if providers are going to do it, the benefits should be worth the price.

But in this case, there's no benefit at all. Because the wrapping is an open mesh rather than a continuous sheet, it does not protect the melon from scratches, dirt, or germs. There's no padding to prevent bruises. The mesh isn't even necessary to keep a label on; a sticker with all the relevant information is clearly visible through the net, firmly stuck to the melon.

Meanwhile, the plastic has drawbacks beyond just cost. It's annoying to remove from the melon and dispose of. It's also difficult to recycle, so it will almost certainly end up either in a landfill or out in the environment somewhere.

Plastic trash, including trillions of pieces of microplastics, is already clogging the ocean. These tiny fragments of plastic could have a severe impact on human health.

What is Ayco Farms doing to be more eco-friendly?

According to the Ayco Farms website, the company is committed to "best practices," including sustainable farming. "As farmers, we have seen first-hand the benefits of reducing waste and minimizing our environmental footprint. We believe in being good stewards of our natural resources and we strive to help do our part to help the environment," Ayco says.

However, the company also advertises several types of plastic packaging on another page, including its mesh sleeves.

What can I do to avoid plastic waste in the produce aisle?

Supporting companies with minimal and plastic-free packaging not only helps keep those companies afloat but also puts pressure on other providers to follow their example. You can look for loose produce at your grocery store or even choose a local grower with eco-friendly practices.

You can also try growing your own produce. Homegrown melons are a particular favorite because they'll be more flavorful than the ones at the store.

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