Shopping in supermarkets is a minefield. Not only do we have to dodge around vacillating idiots dragging their baskets as if heaving a bodybag behind them, but then trying to actually shop ethically is another palaver. Having a long list of criteria to which I try to adhere puts strain on this weekly endeavour, and that’s before even having to deal with people…
Firstly, there are plenty of brands to try to avoid, Nestlé being chief among them because of their shady business practices. Actually, scrap the word shady. Let’s not use a euphemism. Sociopathic would be a better word. I’ve written about their practices before so won’t go off on that tangent today. At least most products are marked with their logo, but not everything owned by them is (San Pelligrino are a hidden subsidiary of Nestlé, for example). Then there is the issue of trying to avoid palm oil. I know that some of it is sustainably produced, but whether it is or not is impossible to tell from the packaging. Further to that, as I live a plant-fuelled lifestyle I have to check everything I buy for that.
But the thing that irks me most is the packaging of fruit and veg in supermarkets. Almost all of it is, and it is only done to for the sake of convenience. I do try to get my fruit and veg from the local greengrocer or market as much as possible, as almost everything in supermarkets is packaged. Some supermarkets have promised to do something about this. Supervalu have campaigned about cutting down on packaging, or making it all recyclable, by 2025. But a quick dig shows that they were making similar noises in 2002, so don’t hold your breath. Lidl have also been promoting their ‘green’ initiative, changing all their fruit and veg packaging to recyclable plastic. Crucially, it is only this one section of the supermarket. Everything else is packaged, and so much of it (frozen food and other convenience food for example) is in non-recyclable packaging.
This raises two points. First, why not cut out packaging on fruit and vegetables altogether? There is no need for it. Why do apples need to be sold on miniature trays and wrapped in film? Why do oranges need to be sold in (plastic) nets? Just sell the fucking things individually. Secondly, if they must use packaging, why is so much of it labelled ‘Not currently recycled’? This isn’t even allowed in civilised countries. But I suppose here it is the cheapest option. Profits outweigh everything else of course.
And the phrase itself: ‘Not currently recycled’. That little hedging phrase in the middle, to imply that they are going to do something about it. It’s just a facade. Why don’t they just tell the truth and label it ‘gross pollutant’, ‘landfill fuel’, ‘ocean-choker’, or ‘environmental poison’? Only regulation banning these plastics will force their hand. The label as it stands is just another euphemism.
‘Not giving a flying fuck’ is what it should really say. At least be honest, supermarket owners. You won’t lose customers over it. Most people couldn’t give a fuck either.