Organic veggie and fruit boxes – why are they not plastic-free?

This is what I have just posted on OFarm’s Facebook page. I’ll let you all know where this goes.

Dear OFarm,

I can only say ‘Oh, dear’! I just picked up one of your family veggie boxes which I had ordered for the first time. I was really looking forward to a whole box of organic gooddies and couldn’t wait to open it as soon as I arrived home.

(I should have already been suspicious as the box was sealed with plastic tape …). IMAG4268What I did not expect to see though was a sea of plastic instead of my natural organically grown veggies and fruit. I was taken aback and I still am. The produce was not just put into plastic bags (they say oxo-biodegradable, but let me get to that later), but some items were also wrapped in cling wrap. Seriously? Why, oh why are you doing this? And please don’t argue with the freshness argument. These boxes are packed fresh and only available twice a week, so seriously freshness shouldn’t be an issue, right?

I am just gobsmacked by the fact that bananas who are in their natural skin, aka packaging, were packed into a plastic bag. Even celery was wrapped in cling wrap!

IMAG4272Only the lettuce and one sweet potato were packaging free and the beans came in a little paper bag.

Hm, dear OFarm, I’d really like to understand your thinking behind this. As a customer I expect natural goodness when I order an organic veggie and fruit box. I do not want plastic with that. I personally have been on a single-use plastic-free journey for over 3 years and I have not had that many plastic bags in my house in over 5 years. They are so unnecessary, and it makes me so sad, especially on the eve of the beginning of Plastic Free July, a world-wide initiative that helped me kick-start my plastic-free life a few years ago.

As a business you have all the opportunity to be pro-active and educate your customers, leading by example. Single-use plastic is choking this planet, literally. Plastic bags are a nuisance and end up where they should not, aka our marine environment, being mistaken for something edible by all kinds of fish and creatures, choking them so they die a slow and agonizing death. I am sure this is not your intention, but you are contributing to tons of plastic ending up in our oceans causing harm.

I urge you to please, please, look at alternatives. Get rid of the plastic packaging altogether. Just let the veggies and fruit be what they are – beautiful in their natural state. If you need to package something because of its size, then use a paper bag or why not re-usable produce bags that your customers could re-use over and over again?

There are so many options, so please lead by example and help us make this world a better place by stopping the use of single-use plastic altogether!

And just as a side note, while I mostly buy my produce from the Manly Food Co-op and markets completely packaging-free, I have ordered from Harris Farm before and even these guys managed to get me a fully plastic-free box delivered. If they can, then you can!

I am so keen to hear your thoughts and have a conversation. Feel free to reach out!


P.D.: In regards to the plastic bags saying oxo-biodegradable, made with an additive called ‘reverte ‘which will allow it to safely oxo-biodegrade should it end up in landfill or waterways’. Ahem, where else would it end up, please? I also question the word ‘safely’. When plastic decomposes is decomposes into smaller and smaller bits and pieces which can easily be dispersed by the wind and end up everywhere. When they land in our water as micro-plastics they end up in the food chain and in the end on our plates. The plastic is still made from mineral oils, so it falling apart into smaller and smaller pieces does not make it safe or environmentally friendly. ‘Oxo’ means that it needs oxygen to degrade which it won’t have in landfill. So these bags will last a couple of hundred years, same as conventional plastic bags when they end up in landfill. I am struggling to see the environmental advantage here. 😦


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