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Outraged customer calls out grocery store for absurd produce-aisle product: 'There ought to be a law'

This way costs the company money, which drives up the price.

This way costs the company money, which drives up the price.

Photo Credit: iStock

Plastic packaging on produce is becoming more common. While frustrating to many shoppers, most of the time it does at least protect fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, though, the packaging is 100% pointless, like the wrapping this Redditor found on their local store's watermelons

What happened? 

The Redditor posted on r/mildlyinfuriating to complain about what they called a "waste of plastic." They attached a photo, and it's hard to argue with their assessment. In the image, a single watermelon is wrapped in a red plastic mesh, with another similar item visible next to it.

This way costs the company money, which drives up the price.
Photo Credit: Reddit

Normally, this type of mesh is used to hold multiple items, such as oranges or onions. It keeps them together so that they can be sold as one unit. However, in this case, there was only a single watermelon inside.

A more solid wrapper might be justified to prevent damage to the watermelon — though even that would be a flimsy excuse since a watermelon rind is already so tough. However, the net does nothing to protect the melon. 

Some commenters suggested the mesh might have some use. "Likely is being done to make it a lot easier to handle in distribution and transport," one Redditor said. However, the package has no obvious handle to grip, and the mesh itself is easy to tear, so this isn't a good explanation.

Another commenter mocked the uselessness of the packaging. "But without the mesh protection, the watermelon demons will escape!" they joked.

Why does unnecessary packaging matter? 

Not only does this plastic mesh serve no purpose, but it's also a net negative for the consumer. Wrapping produce this way costs the company money, which drives up the price of the melon. Meanwhile, buyers have to remove the plastic wrap during food prep, creating an annoying extra step. 

Further, the plastic mesh is a problem for the environment. It's made from oil, which causes pollution when it is extracted from the Earth. After it's removed from the produce, it's almost impossible to recycle, and it ends up in a landfill or as litter. Animals can become tangled in the nets, sometimes fatally.

Are providers doing anything about this?

It wasn't immediately obvious which manufacturer was responsible for this packaging decision, but it does seem to be an outlier. Unwrapped melons are available at many grocery stores. Let's hope that trend continues — especially as innovative companies develop more eco-friendly alternatives for products that do need some kind of packaging. 

"There ought to be a law! 'No more single-use plastic!'" one commenter said.

What can I do about plastic packaging on produce? 

The most eco-friendly solution to bypass the waste involved in manufacturing and transporting grocery store produce is to grow your own food in a garden. Here are several tips for doing it in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way. 

Otherwise, you can look for produce that has little or no packaging, and bring it home in a reusable shopping bag. Just watch out for this common mistake in reusable bag designs.

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