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Customer confused after unwrapping 'plastic-free' sandwich: 'I didn't even notice that'

"Is it plastic or something else?"

"Is it plastic or something else?"

Photo Credit: iStock

Many terms used on packaging and labels aren't regulated, and manufacturers can get away with a lot. This can lead to greenwashing when companies try to make a product look more eco-friendly than it is. 

However, usually it isn't as obvious as the "plastic free" label on this plastic-packaged chicken wrap that was posted in r/mildlyinfuriating.

What happened?

"The 'Plastic Free' cardboard packaging of my work lunch was packaged in… plastic," complained the original poster of the thread, sharing a photo of the problem.

The picture is a close-up of a spicy chicken wrap. The shot doesn't show the brand on the cardboard sleeve around the wrap, but it does show a small, circular seal that says "plastic free" and includes a picture of a penguin.

It also shows the clear plastic packaging that was around the cardboard.

"Is it plastic or something else?"
Photo Credit: Reddit

"Is it plastic or something else?" asked one commenter. "There are loads of materials that look and feel like plastic now, though some packaging does just fib."

"The printing on the wrapper says 'Please recycle plastic film,'" another user pointed out.

"Can't lie, I didn't even notice that!" the original poster replied

Why does the plastic wrap matter?

A single piece of plastic from one product doesn't seem very significant, but multiply it by millions of products in thousands of stores, and you get, well, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Most plastic never gets recycled and instead goes to landfills or ends up in the environment where animals can choke on it.

All the while, it sheds microplastics, which end up in water all over the world and even in human blood.

What is the company doing to lessen its impact on the environment?

While the package as a whole clearly isn't plastic-free, the presence of that seal is a good thing. This means that the cardboard sleeve isn't laminated with plastic and can likely be recycled, unlike many commercial cardboard packages. Combined with a recyclable plastic package, it is at least a start toward a more eco-conscious future.

What can I do to minimize plastic waste?

For plastic-free, nutritious, delicious meals, learning to cook at home is step number one. Some people even grow their own food in their gardens, ensuring it won't have to be wrapped in cellophane or shipped long-distance before it arrives at their table.

If you do buy prepackaged food from a local store, knowing what you can recycle and how to recycle it will help reduce your impact on the Earth. Check out this guide to learn the basics.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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