Students in Ireland have launched a petition calling on the country’s leading food retailers to do more to cut down on single-use packaging of fresh produce sold in their stores.
Liadh Blake, Stephen Gordon, Séamus Hurley and Ella Walsh, from Newpark Comprehensive School in Dublin, set up the petition after conducting a survey of three outlets belonging to SuperValu, Aldi and Tesco, where in each instance they found more than 80 per cent of the fruit and vegetables on sale were in plastic packaging.
They also noted that none of the fruit and vegetable packaging at SuperValu and only a tiny proportion of Aldi’s offer carried a recycling symbol, while the percentage at Tesco was slightly better at 9.3 per cent.
“We all agreed that once you brought home your fruit and vegetables you would remove the packing and bin it,” the students commented. “There would be no further use for the plastic packaging.
“Even for loose fruit and vegetables, it's necessary to put them in the single-use plastic bags provided for them to be weighed and brought to the checkout. This means even customers who make efforts to avoid single-use plastic are obligated to use it anyway.”
The petition, posted on Change.org, calls on Denis Naughten, Ireland’s Minister for Climate Action and Environment, as well as Martin Kelleher, Giles Hurley and Andrew Yaxley – senior directors at SuperValu, Aldi and Tesco respectively – to help bring about the eradication of plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables, along with a switch to paper bags for loose product.
“If companies insist on the packing of fruit and vegetables, packaging must be recyclable,” it states. “This is only a small study on fruit and vegetables alone in Irish supermarkets… imagine how [many] other products are packaged in single-use plastic and consider how much damage they are to our environment.”