Why this photo of plastic-wrapped cucumbers at Woolworths is infuriating shoppers
- Shopper shares photo of cucumbers on social media
- He claims that shrink-wrapped products beat plastic bans
- Woolworths said plastic keeps the cucumber fresh longer
An irate customer has split opinion after criticizing Woolworths for selling plastic-wrapped cucumbers despite the single-use plastic ban.
Australian journalist James Massola shared a photo on Twitter on Saturday of shrink-wrapped continental cucumbers being sold at a Woolworths store in Canberra.
The National Affairs editor of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald claimed that the packaging beat Woolworth’s “great” plastic ban.
Australian journalist James Massola shared a photo on Twitter of shrink-wrapped continental cucumbers being sold at a Woolworths store in Canberra (pictured). Massola claimed the plastic-wrapped cucumbers beat the supermarket giant’s plastic ban
“I think the ACT government’s plastic bag ban was a great decision,” Massola wrote.
But Woolworths’ decision to individually wrap cucumbers (and some other vegetables) in plastic defeats the purpose of a plastic ban.
“And why on earth do cucumbers have to be packaged?”
Massola’s post provoked a series of reactions, with many sharing the journalist’s outrage.
‘Agreed. Here we try to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives and our environment and they make it inevitable!’ one person wrote.
“Woolies were all anti-plastic when they decided to stop giving them for free at the checkout, so now you have to buy paper bags, but not so anti-plastic on the shelves,” said a third.
Others defended Woolworths saying that while plastic packaging is a problem, the packaging reduces food waste by keeping the cucumbers fresher for longer.
‘Continental cucumbers dry out quickly, go limp and are vulnerable to damage on their journey from the greenhouse to your fridge. By acting as a second skin, plastic wrap extends their shelf life by almost a full week,” one wrote.
“They last dramatically longer packaged. So it actually reduces waste,” a second person noted.
“They last about 2x longer when wrapped. It’s a very minimal environmental impact compared to throwing away a cucumber that will rot in half the time,” a third added.
Woolworths told Daily Mail Australia it is a balancing act between plastic packaging removal and food waste.
“We are working to make grocery shopping more sustainable and we are always looking to understand what changes can bring the most environmental benefit,” said Woolworths.
“While plastic removal is always our first priority, in some cases it is a balancing act that also requires us to think carefully about food waste.
‘Some of the fresh products in the Woolworths range are packaged to extend shelf life and reduce food waste.’
The image divided social media users, with many claiming that Woolworths was not ‘anti-plastic’. Others defended the supermarket by explaining that the shrink wrap keeps the cucumbers fresh for longer and prevents unnecessary food waste (photo, Woolworths)
“For example, a continental cucumber wrapped in plastic will last three times longer than one that isn’t,” Woolworths added.
Woolworths has set a series of goals since 2018 to improve the sustainability of its own brand packaging.
The supermarket giant hopes to achieve an average of 60 percent recycled content in all its own-brand packaging by the end of 2025 and aims to halve its use of new plastic packaging by 2024.
Since 2018, Woolworths has removed more than 10,000 tonnes of virgin plastic from packaging through a strategic work program for its own-brand products.