Why this photo of cucumbers wrapped in plastic at Woolworths has shoppers fuming
- Shopper shares photo of cucumbers to social media
- He claims shrink-wrapped produce defeats plastic ban
- Woolworths said plastic keeps cucumber fresh for longer
A furious shopper has divided opinion after slamming Woolworths for selling plastic wrapped cucumbers despite its ban on single use plastic.
Australian journalist James Massola shared a picture on Saturday to Twitter of shrink-wrapped continental cucumbers being sold at a Woolworths store in Canberra.
The national affairs editor, at The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, claimed the packaging defeated Woolworth’s ‘terrific’ ban on plastic.
Australian journalist James Massola shared a picture to Twitter of shrink-wrapped continental cucumbers being sold at a Woolworths store in Canberra (pictured). Massola claimed the plastic wrapped cucumbers defeated the supermarket giant’s plastic ban
‘I think the ACT government’s plastic bag ban was a terrific decision,’ Massola wrote.
‘But the decision by Woolworths to individually plastic-wrap cucumbers (and some other vegetables) defeats the purpose of a plastic ban.
‘Also, why on earth do cucumbers need to be wrapped?’
Massola’s post elicited a range of responses with many sharing in the journalist’s outrage.
‘Agreed. Here we are trying to reduce the volume of plastics in our life and our environment and they make it unavoidable!’ one person wrote.
‘Woolies were all anti-plastic when they decided to stop providing them free at checkouts, so now you have to buy paper bags, but not so anti-plastic on the shelves,’ a third chimed.
Others defended Woolworths saying while plastic wrapping is an issue, the packaging reduces food waste by keeping the cucumbers fresh for longer.
‘Continental cucumbers dehydrate quickly, becoming limp, and are vulnerable to damage during their journey from greenhouse to your fridge. By acting as a second skin, plastic film extends their shelf-life by almost a full week,’ one person wrote.
‘They last dramatically longer wrapped. So it actually reduces waste,’ a second person commented.
‘They last about 2x longer when wrapped. It’s very minimal environmental impact compared to throwing out a cucumber that’s rotten in half the time,’ a third added.
Woolworths told Daily Mail Australia it is a balancing act between removing plastic packaging and food wastage.
‘We’re working to make grocery shopping more sustainable and we’re always looking to understand what changes can deliver the most benefit for the environment,’ Woolworths said.
‘While removing plastic is always our first preference, in some cases it’s a balancing act where we also need to carefully consider food waste.
‘Some fresh produce items in Woolworths’ range are packaged to help extend shelf life and reduce food waste.’
The picture divided social media users, with many claiming Woolworths was not ‘anti-plastic’. Others defended the supermarket explaining the shrink-wrapping keeps the cucumbers fresh for longer and avoids unnecessary food waste (pictured, Woolworths)
‘For example, a continental cucumber wrapped in plastic lasts three times longer than one that isn’t,’ Woolworths added.
Woolworths has set a range of targets to improve sustainability of its own brand packaging since 2018.
The supermarket giant hopes to achieve an average of 60 per cent recycled content across Own Brand packaging by end of 2025 and aims to half the use of virgin plastic packaging by 2024.
Since 2018, Woolworths has removed more than 10,000 tonnes of virgin plastic from packaging through a strategic program of work across its own brand products.