For many eco-conscious shoppers, it’s often disheartening to see the sheer amount of unnecessary plastic waste in grocery stores, especially when only about 9% of it gets recycled worldwide (according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)
A photo posted on Reddit by a grocery shopper speaks for itself: a display of mangoes individually wrapped in plastic boxes, with their barcodes strangely placed on the mangoes instead of on the outer packaging.
The original poster uploaded the image in the subreddit r/CrappyDesign, sarcastically captioning it with “wHy Is ThE oCeAn FiLlInG uP wItH pLaStIc?”
Many Redditors shared the OP’s frustration, as the photo received about 55,000 upvotes and more than 1,000 comments.
While consumers are understandably concerned about the environmental impact of single-use plastics, the food industry has been a staunch supporter of the ubiquitous material. As per the American Chemistry Council, plastics are durable, lightweight, and flexible, an ideal material to protect food during shipping, help extend shelf life, and reduce food waste.
“In cases where consumers had no choice but to buy more than they needed in pre-packed packaging, this could actually increase food waste,” Marcus Gover, Wrap’s chief executive, told the publication.
Not only does this throw money down the drain, but it’s also extremely harmful to the environment. The UN Environment Programme reports that we produce over 440 million tons of plastic waste every year, of which up to nearly 220 million tons end up in the world’s oceans. Some of this garbage consists of single-use plastics, as 85% of them are landfilled or discarded in the environment.
Like the OP, many Redditors were confused about the excessive packaging, with one writing, “If only mangos had a special inedible coat of protection to make extra packaging unneeded…”
“This should be illegal,” said another. “… It makes me extremely happy that I’m not the only person who feels this way. Corporations don’t give a s*** about anything but profits. Kinda hard to turn a buck when everything is dead from the waste they created.”
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