Wrapping fresh produce in plastic is counterproductive and may actually lead to more food waste, according to a study by a British nonprofit organization.
The study by Wrap, a charity that focuses on sustainability, looked at 18 months’ worth of sales data for bananas, broccoli, apples, potatoes and cucumbers in single-use flexible plastic packaging. It found that the packaging actually increased food waste, by guiding consumers to buy more product than they needed or could eat, and in some cases by including a “best before” date on the label that leads consumers to throw out food that’s still edible.
“In cases where consumers had no choice but to buy more than they needed in pre-packed packaging, this could actually increase food waste,” the head of Wrap told The Guardian.
Wrap estimates that if the five products in the study were sold only in bulk, it would save more than 100,000 tons of food from being wasted, along with 10,300 tons of plastic.