August 15, 2011 (Mon)No need to wrap those peaches!!

Hi there!
Amazing, delicious, fruit is one of the things I love about Japan, but not the wrapping that comes along with it! This morning I went to my local grocery store, which isn't a fancy-pants grocer by any means, and was saddened to find that even there peaches are wrapped in waffle-textured foam and then placed in a hard-clear plastic shell. Come on, really? Is it necessary? At the register, I asked if I could buy peaches without the wrapping and of course the clerk was very confused, saying, "Ginger-san, why don't you want the wrapping? The peaches will get squashed in your bag. And you ride a bicycle, so it's better to have wrapping so you can put the groceries in your bike basket."

Okay, I have to admit; wrapping decreases the risk of smashed fruit, but seriously it's a bit ridiculous when the size of the bundle of wrapping is the same size as the fruit. In Japan, people take food quality seriously, which means the flavor is just as important as the appearance, but that means more trash, more waste. I am amazed to see how much wrapping that goes on here in order to ensure a product is aesthetically pleasing.

There has to be more consciousness in how much waste goes into wrapping. If we start making a fuss when someone tries to put a flyer along with our groceries, or tries to "protect" our fruit with near bulletproof casing, things will begin to change. I mean, now some stores will take off 5 cents when you bring your own tote bag, so going lighter on packaging is also possible.

I asked my grocer and he mentioned that I can leave the packaging at the store if I felt that strongly about it, or I could just go to the pile of discounted "imperfect fruit." I looked over at the so-called "imperfect fruit," and not only was it fine, (a tiny bruise here and there) it was 30% off. It was a no-brainer, I took the naked peaches and soon discovered that the wrapping made no difference in taste, but it was all the more sweet knowing that I wasn't bringing a pile of trash home. Satisfied!

Now for an entertaining animation about trash, check out this next video called, "Pied Piper,"

Episode 07 "Pied Piper"(The Animal Conference on the Environment)Episode 07

which is part of "The Animal Conference on the Environment" series. Also, this week, NHK World will be airing the latest episodes of "Green Style Japan." A new episode will be broadcasted every Thursday, 08:30 JST (Wednesday, 23:30 UTC) and will aired multiple times throughout the day on August, 11, 18, and 25. Thank you for watching. And see you next time!

Posted at:16:38  |  Category:Columns  |  No need to wrap those peaches!!   |  Comments(1) | Trackbacks(0)

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I agree that they often overdo wrapping anything in Japan. It is nice, but at the same time, wasteful. However, I have to say the protection wrapping is necessary for fruits like peach. Peaches and some other fruits are very fragile, and they tend to go bad quicker when they are not protected properly. I live in California and here we see fruits pile up and often damaged. Of course, customers‘s rough handling also contributes the produces to be more damaged. I know a lot of Japanese farmers grow fruits and vegetables with loving care, so why not protect their precious products. That is what I think. My suggestion is that supermarkets and stores that sell produces with waffle-textured foam should collect them and sell back to farmers. I strongly believe that grocery store can do much more to save the environment. I hope to see more grocery stores come up with ways to conduct greener business.

31/08/2011/ 03:35 | Koko

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