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Shopper calls out supermarket's questionable decision to display product on store shelves: 'Just ... wow'

"Probably trying to keep people from pocketing them."

"Probably trying to keep people from pocketing them."

Photo Credit: iStock

Many retailers are selling products wrapped in ridiculous amounts of plastic and foam packaging. Sometimes, the packaging does have a purpose, even if it seems unnecessary or excessive. But sometimes it's just nonsense — like these double-wrapped cans at one Redditor's local store.

What happened?

"Just ... wow," said the frustrated Redditor in their post on r/EgregiousPackaging. "Saw this at my local supermarket. Those caviar cans are very fragile, I guess."

"Probably trying to keep people from pocketing them."
Photo Credit: Reddit

In the photo attached to the post, the cans in question look like any other canned food sold at the supermarket, with fully sealed metal on all sides and an ordinary paper label around each one. But each individual can is also set in a styrofoam tray and wrapped in cling film, creating a completely unnecessary second layer of packaging.

Why does the extra packaging matter?

Plastic waste is a major issue because it drives up costs for consumers while hurting the environment. Retailers that use lots of extra packaging roll that expense into their pricing structure. And to add insult to injury, the buyer then has to deal with all that plastic trash they just paid extra for.

Meanwhile, plastic is no good for the environment. Manufacturing it takes oil, which is extremely polluting. Plastic trash takes a hundred years or more to break down, so it either sits in landfills or stays around as litter and floating ocean trash.

All the while, tiny pieces called microplastics break off and contaminate water sources. That's a big deal because microplastics have been linked to cancer and other diseases.

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Why is the seller doing this?

It seems obvious that canned food doesn't need additional plastic wrap to protect it, since canning gives food a shelf life of months or years and the metal is stronger than cling film.

However, since these specific cans held a high-value item like caviar, commenters speculated that the seller might have a reason to wrap them up after all.

"Probably because they are crazy expensive and won't sell if they're dented," said one user.

"Probably trying to keep people from pocketing them," said another commenter. "But not doing a great job."

How can I do my part to minimize plastic waste?

The next time you go shopping, steer clear of any double-wrapped items like these and pick products with less packaging and no plastic.

However, if you can't find a store that's willing to ditch the plastic wrap, canned food is actually a great choice from an environmental perspective. Aluminum cans are easy to recycle and can be remade endlessly into new cans, unlike many other types of materials that degrade when they're recycled.

To recycle your cans, wash them out, remove any labels and adhesive, and put them in a recycling bin designed for metal waste.

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