A recent article we published on Del Monte’s unnecessary packaging (individually plastic wrapped bananas) seemed like it was the epitome of stupid packaging decisions. However, there are even more environmentally unfriendly products utilizing unnecessary packaging out on the market, including plastic wrapped jelly beans (pictured above), plastic wrapped potatoes, corn, cucumbers, and nearly any other veggie you can think of.
Plastic wrapped jelly beans
Jelly Belly, the jelly bean manufacturer, has actually gone as far as to wrap each individual piece of candy in plastic, making the permanent environmental impact of the jelly bean almost equivalent to the actual product’s size it contains. Although plastic wrapped fruits and vegetables is stupid, this is absolutely the worst and most unnecessary packaging on the market.
Plastic wrapped vegetables
Based on the fact that food manufacturers are not only producing GMO foods to be more resilient in the fields, but also shrink-wrapping them to protect them from any other kind of exposure damage, it is clear there is a serious problem with our food industry. Potatoes, one of the most durable vegetables I can think of, do not need to be wrapped in plastic. Corn is another veggie that definitely doesn’t need to be wrapped in plastic – after all, it has a protective husk that should be able to get it from the farm to your kitchen without getting banged up.
With that said, there are some vegetables that are delicate and definitely benefit from having an extra layer of protection when being transported. However, there should be far more eco friendly ways to package vegetables – whether in biodegradable plastics, or some form of reusable cloth or burlap. So why hasn’t one been thought of yet?
What we can do about it
A new form of responsible recycling called EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) could be the answer to the packaging problems. By making the manufacturer responsible for collecting and recycling all of the packaging it produces, businesses like Jelly Belly would never even think of wrapping their beans in plastic. Some farms may still prefer to wrap their vegetables in plastic so they last longer and are better protected during transport, but they will at least have to pay into a recycling program that will help offset their packaging mistakes.
One thing is for sure, the packaging problem we are facing today is a serious environmental issue. Could EPR be the solution to turn it around?