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Shopper bewildered after unpackaging bulb of store-bought garlic: '[They] don't grow barcodes'

"Because marketing! How would you know it's from that company otherwise?"

“Because marketing! How would you know it’s from that company otherwise?"

Photo Credit: iStock

Garlic is often used to cook up delicious meals, but a recent purchase of a head of the fragrant food left a bad taste in one shopper's mouth — and for good reason. 

What happened? 

In a post to the r/MildlyInfuriating subreddit, a Redditor posted a photo of an upsetting packaging practice. 

Photo Credit: Reddit

"Why the hell does this garlic have a plastic wrapper?" the poster wrote above a photo depicting just that: a head of garlic wrapped in plastic

"One cent worth of plastic with the brand name on it probably raises the price by 50 cents!" commented one user. 

"Because marketing! How would you know it's from that company otherwise?" snidely remarked another. 

"Because garlic plants don't grow barcodes," said a third, in reference to part of a barcode visible on the packaging. 

"So the garlic can live forever. We all know that the plastic doesn't decompose," added one more.

Why is the packaging problematic?

This practice is problematic for all of the reasons mentioned by the commenters. 

The plastic packaging was likely a move to ensure shoppers know who the garlic is from and, as pointed out by commenters, to make it easier to scan in the checkout line. However, it also increases the cost of the produce for consumers and damages the environment, as after serving these purposes it will be tossed in the trash. 

Around 40 million tons of plastic waste are thrown away every year in the United States alone, only about 5% of which gets recycled. The rest breaks down in landfills, contributing to the overheating of our planet as well as the at least 24.4 trillion microplastics floating in our oceans, threatening the well-being of humans and wildlife alike. 

Compounding the issue is the fact that this garlic is far from the only instance of this — examples abound of produce needlessly and absurdly packaged in plastic. 

What is the company doing about it? 

As advertised by the packaging, the garlic is a product of Spice World. Their website talks a lot about their passion for the product and focus on flavor, but there is no obvious stance on sustainability. 

What can I do to help?

As individuals, we can work to hold corporations like the company spotlit in this post accountable and make sure we support brands with plastic-free packaging. There's plenty of garlic out there that is comfortable in its own skin and sans plastic wrapping. 

We can also reduce our reliance on globally shipped, polluting, plastic-wrapped produce by shopping at farmer's markets and growing our own food when possible. 

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