Hey Trader Joe’s: Do cucumbers really need to be plastic-wrapped?

For a few years, Trader Joe’s was my most important stop for groceries, booze and dog food. However as I wrote more concerning the environmental value of single-use plastic I began noticing how a lot plastic I used to be bringing residence as half the weekly Dealer Joe’s haul — and was appalled.

American grocery stores usually promote an incredible amount of products encased in some type of plastic packaging. However Trader Joe’s, it seemed, had taken it to an entire new, horrifying degree: Persian cucumbers entombed in arduous plastic shells. Tomatoes ensconced in crinkly plastic luggage. Individually wrapped tea luggage. Greeting cards encased in protecting plastic film. For crying out loud, that’s not even meals!

So my Dealer Joe’s runs tapered off to occasional jaunts for wine and the few issues I could not find elsewhere (howdy, blue cheese mustard). Now I depend on farmers markets for the majority of my groceries, which still push approach too much plastic on clients, for my part, and grocery stores with bulk grains and seed bins that don’t mind when you refill with reusable luggage from house.

I’m not the only buyer who has been turned off by the chain’s quantity of plastic packaging. In the Feb. four edition of the “Inside Trader Joe’s” podcast, a crew member at a Los Angeles store stated that when individuals discover out the place she works, “their very first thing is all the time, ‘Oh my God, I really like Dealer Joe’s.’ And the second thing is, ‘Why do you employ a lot plastic?’”

Greenpeace, which final yr included single-use plastic as certainly one of its prime environmental considerations, observed as properly, and began a strain marketing campaign concentrating on Dealer Joe’s, gathering greater than one hundred,000 signatures. The pushback appears to have labored. On New Yr’s Eve, the Southern California-based mostly (but German-owned) grocery empire announced a plan to chop its plastic footprint by one million kilos this yr. Also, it might continue to look for ways to deploy less single-use plastic packaging.

Whoa, massive victory, right? That is 1 million pounds of plastic that won’t have an opportunity to end up within the ocean to kill whales or in our food chain to do who knows what to our bodies. Hooray for Trader Joe’s for listening to public considerations and responding.

But …

I simply cannot assist being a bit underwhelmed by the proposal. It is just like the grocery equivalent of the state banning straws. For example, this is what the corporate is working on this yr:

  • Dumping plastic and foil packages from bins of tea and finding a non-plastic bag for flowers.
  • Replacing polystyrene foam meat trays with a PET trays, which is a plastic that’s simpler to recycle — although we all know that does not guarantee will probably be recycled, what with the global recycling market breaking down.
  • Changing the plastic sleeve on greeting playing cards with something comprised of renewable, compostable materials. (Better, but do greeting playing cards actually need sleeves? Other stores do not appear to assume so.)
  • Evaluating plastic packaging for produce. This is a better concept: eliminate…

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