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  • Simone Jacob


Every time I stand in front of the vegetable and fruit counter in the supermarket, I get annoyed. It is almost impossible to buy plastic-free. Apples, tomatoes, kiwis, lettuce, cucumbers, potatoes, avocados, bananas. Everything is packed in plastic. Even oranges have recently been peeled out of their thick peel, only to be wrapped in plastic again. Completely absurd! Even organic fruit and vegetables often come in plastic. Now that's a contradiction in terms.

300 million tons, a sea of plastic and plastic we produce worldwide every year. Half of it is thrown away after one use. Only some of it goes to landfills, much of it ends up in rivers and ultimately in the sea. The packaging madness must come to an end.

There's no question that if you want to avoid plastic waste, it's best to shop at the market. The fresh air and a chat with the greengrocer also put you in a good mood.

My most important companion at the market is my shopping basket. It is stable and has a solid bottom. I can put my fruits and vegetables in it loosely without them getting crushed. The hard varieties, like apples, pears, potatoes down, the sensitive ones, like apricots, plums, berries, up. And I swear, everything arrives home in one piece.

Unfortunately, I still can not get around the supermarket. Sometimes I don't have the time to go to the market first and then to the supermarket for the basic food. In addition, it is a little more expensive at the market than at the discounter. Sure, quality has its price. That should also be so, but I do not always want or can afford it.

In this respect, I was delighted with the action of a German discounter not so long ago, in my second home, Palma de Mallorca, fruit and vegetables were only available "naked" - that is, without plastic wrapping. I was thrilled.

But just a few weeks later, it was all over. Fruit and vegetables were again squeezed into plastic-film in the stands.

Why? Did the supermarket only want to polish up its environmental image in the short term? Or were we consumers to blame? Did we buy less unpackaged fruit and vegetables than we did packaged ones? Because, of course, at the end of the day it's all about sales. If sales collapse as a result of a no-plastic campaign, it would only be logical for the company to backtrack quickly.

Conversely, this also means that we consumers have much more power than we think! For bad, as well as for good! What if more and more people leave packed goods lying around and buy loose fruit and vegetables instead? Wouldn't manufacturers and retailers then inevitably have to switch to plastic-free?

Every individual can increase this pressure on the discount chains. And this is how:

In order to protect your environment, please only buy loose fruit and vegetables at your supermarket. Of course, the selection is considerably limited, because most of it is only available in pre-packaged form. I must therefore be prepared to adapt my menu to what is on offer.

Then I put everything in my shopping cart one by one. If you're worried that all that loose stuff will cause trouble at the checkout, I can reassure you. On the contrary, the cashier often nods approvingly at me as she scans my naked fruit and vegetables, sorted by group.

To ensure that everything arrives home undamaged, I again carry my sturdy shopping basket. So you can buy fruit and vegetables even in the supermarket naked.

I admit, it's not always easy to do without plastic, but where there's a will, there's a way. Each individual can make a difference. I am sure that packaging-free supermarkets will come. It's just a matter of time.

In many German cities there are already the first plastic-free supermarkets.

Here you can find out where: WITHOUT the packaging-free supermarket 4.5 (233) - Supermarket Munich 089 92777826 Open ⋅ Closes at 19:00rmarkt/.

There is also more info at the Zero Waste movement (

The Zero-Waste Movement Abroad

By the way, people abroad are further along than in Germany. The New Zealand supermarket chain "New World" shows with great success in its 140 stores how it is done. The trend is called "food in the nude". Since consumers have been able to buy fruit and vegetables naked, i.e. without plastic packaging, sales of some vegetables have increased by up to 300 percent.

There are also unpackaged supermarkets in England and Holland. And even in Africa, which we still classify as underdeveloped, plastic bags are already banned in 11 countries. Rwanda even has a plastic police force. Since 2008, it has been completely forbidden to import, produce or sell plastic. Violators face fines and imprisonment.

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