As any conscious consumer is aware British supermarket aisles are laden with plastic, however farmers markets aren’t a permanent fixture, nor do they exist on your way home from work or stay open until 11 pm.
This is a personal documentation of finding lunch In Leeds city center’s supermarket fruit & vegtable aisles, the ones within walking distance to my flat, because of this not all leading supermarkets are counted for nor are the thousands of other products that exist in a supermarket– that’s another blog for another time.
Avocados... being the luxury fruits us non-meat-eaters and appreciators of real guacamole crave regularly are often sitting honorably in plastic molded beds and wrapped in single use plastic covers. A miniscule part of me almost understands this obscene amount of packaging when I reach for a naked avocado that has had the squeeze test one to many times. But even a brown soggy avocado on my morning toast cannot justify the following supermarket scenes. Thankfully in most of my experiences there are loose Avocados on display (minus Coop).
SaveSaveSaveSave Hats off to Marks & Spencers for the only package free sprouts I came across. All of this joy however was quickly diminished when I turned the corner to find a tray of almost indistinguishable ‘Genuine Coconuts’, plastic ring pull and individually wrapped plastic straw included. I have never seen a fraudulent coconut before so I cannot possibly comment on its authenticity but at £3 a coconut it seems all that organic authenticity comes at a price.
SavWe need to talk about bananas. A single use plastic bag really does seem to lack purpose when compared to the bananas natural protective peel. Neither does it have the same compostable elements or historic comedic appeal. However this is usually a fruit I feel confident in finding package free in a supermarket aisle. There are of course always the bagged option lurking close by. Marks & Spencers go as far as offering bags to carry your bagged bananas...?
Unless you have owned a stainless steel spork and pre-prepared your own meals from childhood then you will have been a victim to the plastic picnics, train journeys and lunch breaks at some time. Looking for a healthy option on to go often results in a bendy carrot in a pot or half of a brown apple in a bag. If the excessive plastic packaging isn’t enough to put you off then try working out the premium you pay for the convenience of these packaged 1 a days. The great thing about being a conscious plastic free consumer and buying loose goods from the supermarket is that it usually saves you a few pennies, and over time a nice little collection – minus the one off purchases of produce bags and then add the 5ps saved from bringing your own shopping bags and voila… you’re financially justifying breakfast at Laynes Espresso.
So what are the alternatives for us consumers? Simply popping the produce naked in to your basket and dealing with the inconvenience of weighing it at the other end isn’t a big deal but probably not the most hygienic method– however keeping reusable produce bags in your bag/car/ life is a simple and sustainable answer. Remember when people had to start paying 5p for plastic bags at the checkout and suddenly forgetting to bring your own was an unnecessary pain and expense... you see where I’m going with this.
Side note- If we are being pedantic, and we should be, plastic stickers exist on all of the loose produce I found even though they were not needed at checkout. Are people truly unable to identify a pepper from an apple? If so could tattooing fruit be a solution?
Join the campaign to see plastic free aisles in our supermarkets with A Plastic Planet.