A recent survey by the Australian Marine Conservation Society found something shocking: supermarkets are actually charging more per kilo for loose fruits and vegetables compared to their plastic-packaged counterparts. You’d think that wouldn’t be the case, but people who are trying to reduce their consumption of plastic are having their wallets punished for it.
In the wake of that report, Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek acknowledged the need for regulatory reforms, emphasising the importance of holding suppliers and retailers accountable for excessive packaging.
Because plastics-free packaging is possible, and customers don’t need to bear the cost of them. We know this because this is what Good & Fugly does.
There are no plastics in the boxes that we deliver to your doorstep every week. You’ll open it up and be greeted with enough fresh fruit & vegetables for the whole family and, best of all, it comes in well under the cost that you’d be paying for the equivalent amount of fruit & veg as you do in the supermarket.
Australia really does love its plastic…
Breaking the plastic habit is going to be a real challenge in Australia. Basically, we’re so addicted to plastic that we need an intervention.
As a country, we produce 6.7 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year. We’re actually the second-highest generator of single-use plastic waste per person, coming second only to Singapore.
That plastic doesn’t just end up in landfill. It enters the waterways and oceans, and, frighteningly, back into our own systems from there.
Take out your wallet and pull out your credit card. Now imagine eating it. Once plastics get into the ocean they slowly break down into tiny slivers of plastic, called “microplastics.” At that size, fish inadvertently consume them, and then, when the fish is caught and cooked, those microplastics end up in our systems.
That credit card that looks so incredibly unappetising is about how much the average person eats in microplastics every week, according to some scientists.
That seems like an unpleasant cost for the mild convenience of having vegetables and fruits wrapped up in plastic, yes?
How you can help
It’s good that the government is taking steps to address single-use plastics, and seeing shopping bags, straws and the like phased out and replaced with paper-based alternatives has been encouraging.
However, there’s a lot that we also need to do on an individual level to break the habit and start being more sustainable with plastics. Here are some steps that we can all take now:
- Reusable Shopping Bags: Most stores have already phased out plastic bags at this point, but remembering to carry around a reusable shopping bag can minimise instances where you find yourself in need of something to carry a purchase in. Shopping bags have much nicer designs anyway, so enjoy them!
- Refillable Water Bottles and Coffee Cups: One area that still creates a lot of plastic waste is the single-use bottles and cups that hold our drinks. Rather than buying bottled water or accepting disposable cups for your coffee, invest in a refillable water bottle and coffee cup. Not only will this reduce your plastic waste, but it can also save you money in the long run.
- Reusable Food Storage: Swap out plastic wrap and sandwich bags for reusable food storage options. Glass or stainless steel containers, beeswax wraps, and silicone bags can all be used multiple times for storing leftovers or packing lunches. You’ll find yourself saving money here too, though the up-front cost is a bit more.
- Say No to Disposable Cutlery and Straws: If you often order takeout or eat at fast-food restaurants, start carrying your own reusable cutlery and straws. Many companies now sell compact, travel-friendly sets.
And, simply, buy better! If there’s no reason for something to be stored in plastic – and fruit and vegetables are a good example of that, then simply refuse to buy them that way.
We live in a society where some plastic use is inevitable, but by shifting the economics so that demand for produce that hasn’t been wrapped in plastic means that it is cheaper than the plastic-wrapped option is an excellent first step in ensuring that we get unnecessary plastic use out of the supply chain.
Simply by buying Good & Fugly, you are being part of that shift in demand!Photo by Sophia Marston on Unsplash