Tesco Is Removing Plastic From Its Fruit and Vegetables

Tesco Is Removing Plastic From Its Fruit and Vegetables

In a bid to become more environmentally friendly, Tesco is removing plastic packaging from produce.

The UK’s largest supermarket chain is trialling the removal of most of the plastic from its fruit and vegetable sections in two stores. A total of 45 packaged foods will be removed from stores in Watford and Swindon, Metro reports.

Apples, bananas, and carrots which can typically be purchased pre-packaged or loose are no longer wrapped in plastic. Mushrooms, peppers, onions, and avocados will also be free from plastic packaging.

The supermarket chain said last year that it would stop packaging products in hard-to-recycle materials by the end of 2019. Tesco is also ensuring that any remaining plastic has a clear purpose and is recyclable.

By 2025, Tesco will have halved packaging weight, made all of its packaging entirely recyclable, and ensured the paper and board it uses is 100 percent sustainable.

The chain will closely monitor the initiative to assess whether it leads to an increase in food waste.

“We want to remove as much plastic as we can from our products, only using what is necessary to protect and preserve our food,” Tesco’s Director of Quality Sarah Bradbury said to the Metro.

“We hope this trial proves popular with customers. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the results, including any impact on food waste. Whatever happens, we’re going to keep reducing the amount of packaging we use and ensure everything on our shelves is fully recyclable,” she said.

Supermarket Produce and Plastic

Supermarket produce is wrapped in plastic packaging that impacts the planet

Plastic pollution is one of the most talked about environmental crises of our time. Plastic impacts the ocean, kills marine life, and ends up in our food chain.

Yet in supermarkets, plastic wrapping is still found on large amounts of fresh produce. Some find it unnecessary; The Guardian pointed out, “Fruit and vegetables are washable and often come in their own – compostable – wrapping designed by nature.”

While it has its advantages, The Guardian maintains that plastic is not worth the environmental cost. “Plastic packaging can, of course, help keep food hygienic and prolong shelf-life,” it wrote, adding that it can be more convenient for shoppers, too. “But the costs of servicing that lifestyle are high, for people as well as the environment,” it said.

“It’s time to break down this barrier and reclaim a vital relationship with our food. And we have the power to do so. Supermarkets are led by us consumers. As we become more conscious about the produce we buy and the packaging we consume, so do they,” The Guardian noted.

Many businesses are working to improve their sustainability. UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon and Starbucks ditched plastic straws, and supermarkets like Waitrose are ridding their free plastic bags.

UK supermarket chain Iceland vowed to be plastic-free by 2023 and Thornton Budgens in north London recently became the first British supermarket to introduce an entirely plastic-free zone.