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Choose non-wrapped fruits and vegetables

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Choose non-wrapped fruit and vegetables and bring your own reusable produce bags to cut down on the amount of plastic wrap, Styrofoam, and disposable bags that end up in the trash.

Find it! Reusable produce bags

Choosing non-wrapped fruit and vegetables helps you go green because...

  • It decreases the amount of plastic and Styrofoam packaging you use, cutting down on non-biodegradable landfill waste.
  • It decreases the amount of chemicals dispersed into the air during the production of plastic wrap, disposable bags, and Styrofoam.
  • Less packaging means less plastic and Styrofoam litter in your local waterways and natural areas.

Plastic and expanded polystryen (EPS), or Styrofoam, are often used to wrap fruits, vegetables, and meat at the grocery store, and these packaging materials contribute to non-biodegradable landfill waste. In the year 2000, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 3.3 million tons of polyethylene plastic bags, sacks, and wraps were discarded in the US alone.[1] Once in a landfill, these products will take 500 to 1,000 years to break down.[2] When these materials don't make it to the landfill and instead end up as litter, they are hazardous to wildlife, clogging the digestive system of animals that ingest them. Beyond the landfill waste these products create at the end of their life, plastic and Styrofoam products also create large amounts of solid waste during production.

Both polyethylene and Styrofoam packaging are made from petroleum, a non-sustainable resource whose extraction and production has caused major environmental damage to soil, surface and ground waters, and local ecosystems. The production of petroleum also contributes to global warming and pollution: about 71 million pounds of toxins are released into the air and water annually during petroleum refinement.[3] The plastics industry as a whole releases millions of pounds of toxic waste into the air, water, and soil each year, and represents 7 percent of the 5.7 billion pounds of toxic chemicals dumped by all manufacturers each year.

Glossary

  • expanded polystyrene (EPS): Commonly known as Styrofoam, this petroleum-based and non-biodegradable product is often used to make insulated cups or as packaging for fruit and meat.
  • polyethylene: A petroleum-based polymer composed of a long chain of carbon atoms, with two hydrogen atoms attached to each carbon atom, used to make the most commonly found plastic in the world.

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Comments

09/12/2008
3:30pm
Rebecca

I have ECOBags produce and shopping bags and love them. But another simple and free way to avoid produce packaging is not to use a bag at all. I often just take 6 apples or a head of lettuce, etc. to the check out unbagged and as is. Works just as well for me...

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