Excess packaging spotted in Lidls

Filed in Blog, Videos by on November 1, 2010 12 Comments
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Mrs Green discovers the pomelo

Mrs Green discovers the pomelo

You say pomelo, I say ‘strange looking fruit that I’ve never seen before shrink wrapped in plastic, thrown into a plastic net and given a plastic handle for good measure’.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been at it again in my local store.

This week I spotted a pomelo, which I’ve since discovered is a citrus fruit native to South-East Asia.

You treat them like a grapefruit on steroids (you should see the size of these beasts) which would be just the thing for Little Miss Green as it’s one of her favourite fruits to eat. You can use the rind in marmalade or as a flavouring in baking or salads. In the Philippines, the fruit is cut into wedges and dipped into salt before eating (sounds like all you need is a Tequila to follow) while in Thailand they dip it in sugar before chowing down or make it into a rather fun sounding salad with shrimps, chillies and coconut.

I also found a lovely sounding Chinese recipe for mango sago pomelo – it sounds gorgeous and light and refreshing.

Anyway, back to the plot.

Picture for a moment about all the citrus fruits you know – ya know grapefruit, lemon, limes, oranges…

What do they all have in common?

A great thick skin that would put a rhino to shame perchance?

I think we can all agree that when it comes to the humble citrus fruit, Mother Nature has designed biodegradable packaging at its best.

But it’s not good enough for us humans – we have to interfere as usual and try and improve on an already perfect design as I discovered in Lidls this week:

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Abi says:

    That’s horrendous! Who on earth thought that one up? I find it staggering that somebosy, somewhere, thought to set up a shrink-wrapping machine, then a netting machine, and a way of pushing individual fruits through this palaver, before shipping them? Leaving aside the environmental impact and going straight to the business one (which you’d think they have a handle on – no pun intended) how much extra must this have cost?! Ridiculous.

  2. Julie Day says:

    That is bad for one fruit. Other fruits can be without netting so why not that one?

  3. CarSue says:

    Oh Mrs. Green, how horrible! We run into the same problem state side all the time…. particularly mushrooms. There are practically zero markets where we can buy mushrooms unpackaged. In fact, they’re generally in a non-recyclable plastic container and then wrapped in cling film. I also recently saw a watermelon–completely whole and unsliced!– wrapped in cling plastic for sale! Who are these people?!?! Thanks for continuing to point these things out. I hope more people start paying attention!

  4. Karen says:

    I stopped buying red peppers in Morrisons because they were covered in in thick shrink wrap. The pepper smelt strongly of chemicals when it was taken off. I returned them to the shop and got my money back. Why are garlic bulbs in a plastic net.?

  5. sandy says:

    Maybee I am lucky my indpendant greengrocier, sells everything without wraping, and I take my own paper bags. never seen that one there .

  6. I have to admit: I laughed so hard at this! Isn’t it RIDICULOUS the amount of packaging that’s put on food that has already been “packaged” by nature?

    I try to shop at our local co-op when possible, and then I forget when I go over to Walmart (which must have an investment in their packaging) that it really confuses the cashiers when I just place the fruits and veg. in the cart without inserting them into a plastic bag first. THey look at it like “How do I ring THIS up?!”


    The net and plastic wrap about the Super-Grapefruit, though, made.my. day 🙂

  7. Jane says:

    Time we started stripping the packaging off and leaving it at the till again. There is still much too much and much too much with no recycling instructions…



    not forgetting those ladies of the WI

  8. Jane says:

    Recycling info on the pack is a step forward even if it is disappointing:
    http://www.onpackrecyclinglabel.org.uk/ Tesco and Morrisons are listed as members of this but the packaging my young lodgers are bringing in has no info on it to help them choose wisely. Lidl has European signs which I understand mean nothing in the UK. Check out the packaging!

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Abi: Hi Abi 😀 Sound like this one got to you a bit! It does seem an awful lot of trouble to go through. The only thing I’m wondering is if this fruit dries out particularly quickly and might be no good by the time it reaches foreign shores. Still, just the shrinkwrap would suffice…

    @CarSue: Melons! Oh My, they have wonderful packaging already provided! We get mushrooms in the packaging you mention, but in most stores they are available loose – even with paper bags to use!
    @Karen: Not sure about the garlic – I reckon they would say that the papery skin sheds?
    @sandy: That’s good Sandy – for people who have access to farm shops and greengrocers, these horrors are rarely a problem.
    @Amanda Broadfoot: You do have to retain a sense of humour; that’s for sure! I have cashiers frantically searching around for bags to put my loose stuff in – but more often than not I buy fresh food from a farm shop where they seem to ‘get it’ more.
    @Jane: Jane, I agree a mass strip would be great – Now you’ve got me thinking for next year’s zero waste week; perhaps it should be more ‘activist’ based 😉 Thanks for the links. I have a post coming up about that labelling because personally I think it sucks and is useless.

  10. Ben says:

    I encountered some very excessive packaging in Tesco yesterday. The croissants were packaged as four in a giant clear plastic box which could easily have held 12, just floating around lose in there with loads of empty space. I asked the man who was boxing them up nearby if that was the only packaging they came in, hoping he might put some in a plastic bakery bag for me, but he just said that’s how they’re all packaged. I’m wondering if they just happened to be out of smaller boxes that week, but will take a look later and see if they’re just as bad. I didn’t see any other products in these giant boxes, so wonder what else they could be for.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Ben,
    Oh, this brings back memories! We encountered a similar thing in Budgens with a custard tart. We were so shocked we bought the product just to photograph it 😀 You can see it here: http://mzw.wpengine.com/2009/03/is-this-the-worst-case-of-plastic-packaging/ I’m so glad you spoke to someone in the store – at least that helps raise awareness, even for a moment. Will be interested what you find in the future!

  12. Jane says:

    Yesterday in Tesco next to the John West tinned tuna WITHOUT all the liquid (one of the best waste reductions I’ve seen recently) was a new Tesco offering of tuna fillets IN A TIN INSIDE A BOX! Why? The tin had no coloured printing on it but the cardboard didn’t explain this double packaging either and only mentioned that the tin could be recycled!!

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