Supermarket chains obsessed with plastic, NGO finds

Local | 11 Jul 2019 5:04 pm

From lemons to cucumbers and bananas, almost everything comes wrapped in plastic. Even unhusked coconuts are not spared, RTHK reports. 
Some supermarkets in Hong Kong have a "plastic addiction,'' says Greeners Action, an environmental group. 
They looked at how 10 fruits and vegetables are packed at eight supermarket chains. What they found largely tallied with a similar survey they did back in 2013; supermarkets are over-packaging and unnecessarily wrapping up their fresh produce, and there are hardly any exceptions.
"Apples, kiwis.. you can see they are all in plastic wraps, cling film, plastic cases and they even have a polyform on the top of an apple," said Vicki Wong, a senior project officer with Greeners Action as she surveyed the fruit and vegetable section of a local supermarket.
Wong said such wrapping also stops customers from feeling or smelling the produce. This, she said, forces customers to buy some decayed ones, too when they are in multiple packs.
Topping Greeners Action's list of the worst offenders in 2013 and this year were Yata supermarkets. Just ahead of Taste and Wellcome. The best performer among the eight chains was Kai Bo Food Supermarket, where customers can pick up fruit and vegetables as single items.
RTHK has contacted these supermarkets for their comments on these findings.
Wong said Hong Kong could follow overseas examples, where plastic-free aisles have proven popular with customers and boosted sales. She said Kai Bo has already shown this here.
Greeners Action said it is important for the supermarkets to tackle this problem now, so that customers aren't burdened with having to dispose of unnecessary packaging when a plan to start charging for the disposal of household waste kicks in. 
The group said the latest data suggests Hong Kong throws away some 2,000 tons of plastic waste a day.


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