We want plastic free vegetables!

Supermarkets in Israel are planning to wrap more produce in plastic and styrofoam containers. This is preposterous in this day and age considering that the rest of the modern world are doing everything possible to reduce their plastic waste. Currently in Israel, we only recycle 6% of our plastic and 12% of our organic waste.

And even worse: the Ministry of Environment is going to start rewarding supermarkets for wrapping their produce in plastic!

What the supermarkets and the Ministry of Environment claim

  1


Having more plastic wrapping will reduce greenhouse gases from landfills and this will outweigh the environmental costs of producing and selling plastic packaging.
 

Why this is wrong
Food will STILL be wasted but, now, in or alongside plastic, which means an increase in methane and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from landfills.

 

  2


It will reduce food waste at the consumer’s home and in stores.

 

Why this is wrong
This is simply a deflection of responsibility. If there is older produce for sale at supermarkets, there are other ways to ensure it is sold faster, such as better monitoring of stock, decreasing price for older produce, or a sign encouraging people not to overshop.

 

Selling produce in plastic packaging is almost inevitably going to cause more waste, since people will not have the option to choose the exact quantity they need. If the goal is reduction of food waste, plastic packaging is not the answer.

 

  3


There will be different size options for customers.

 

Why this is wrong
There is no way for you to accommodate every family size option without wrapping every individual item in plastic - which is extremely wasteful. A couple of size options may lead to families buying too much and therefore more food waste.

 

Wrapping food in plastic is far more labor and resource intensive for both the packager and store, and will create a lot of waste during preparation and distribution. Plastic packaging requires oil, water and electricity in its manufacturing - why volunteer to increase your carbon footprint when your customers don’t want that?

 

  4

 

Plastic packaging is sealed and thus protects the produce, also in the consumer's house.

 

Why this is wrong
Consumers have been washing their produce for years. This is just a simple matter of educating consumers on how to best keep their fruit and veg - knowing what produce belongs where in the household to keep it fresh for example, will help preserve it for longer. Promoting these ideas of preserving food better would be more cost effective and less wasteful for shops and consumers.

 

  5 

Plastic packaging will allow for transparency - so the consumer can see where their produce came from and from which farm - can emphasize the Made in Israel label.

 

Why this is wrong
Grocery stores in other countries accommodate this by putting up signs next to the produce - it’s simple, effective and can be completely waste-free.

 

  6


It will help keep up with the produce quality and prices.

 

Why this is wrong
This is the responsibility of the supermarket and the job of whoever is buying the produce. In a regular supermarket, the buyer would be tracking sales to make sure that an appropriate amount of produce is in stock. Additional stock, if accidentally ordered, could be refrigerated elsewhere.

 

  7

 

Israeli stores do not refrigerate most produce and it sits out for people to buy in bulk. In America and Europe, they package produce to avoid this.

 

Why this is wrong
This is simply a false claim. Many things are not refrigerated in America and the main reason that things are refrigerated there is because it helps fight bacteria, which is a big issue in the U.S due to the mass factory farming of the produce/meat and dairy industries. These issues doesn’t really exist in Israel due to the high use of pesticides in our agricultural industry - plastic packaging in this case, is a scam.
 

On top of this, many cities and even countries in America and Europe are now banning bags, styrofoam and other unnecessary packaging in response to consumer demand.
 

  8

 

Food waste is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions since it winds up in landfills and releases methane.

 

Why this is wrong
As mentioned, organic materials trapped in plastics create more potent greenhouse gases.

Plastic Free Israel