Just Say “No” to 7-Eleven’s Plastic-Wrapped Bananas.
Plastic-wrapped bananas are redundant and stupid, aren’t they? I mean, really. Bananas already have a natural wrapper. But 7-Eleven wants to make sure they stay fresher even longer. So 27 stores in Dallas, Texas are testing out the new plastic-wrapped bananas. If successful, the chain plans to sell them in all of its stores.
According to an article in USA Today (forwarded to me by Fake Plastic Fish reader James Langford), “7-Eleven recognizes that the wrapper could be an environmental issue and has asked supplier Fresh Del Monte to come up with a wrapper that’s biodegradable.” Um… it already has a biodegradable wrapper. It’s thick and yellow and decomposes in about a week, as evidenced by the contents of my compost bin.
Since 7-Eleven does appear to be somewhat concerned about its environmental footprint, let’s help them realize the error of this packaging choice. Please make a quick phone call or send a letter to the company letting them know we don’t need no stinkin’ plastic on our bananas.
P.O. Box 711
Dallas, TX 75221
Or use the link on 7-Eleven’s Contact Page to contact a store directly.
This one should be a no-brainer.
I hate the excess waste, but I bet it does cut down on fruit flies.
Another example of greenwash. A bit like when it was found it’s far more costly to grow biofuel in south america and transport it to the US and Europe. Biodegradeable plastics for bananas are just silly.
I doubt it will last long. Environmentalists are all over this and what are they going to argue against? The disadvantages far outweigh the benefits. 7-11 ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Hi, all. I got a slightly different response:
from: McDonald, Kristin (Kristin.McDonald@7-11.com)
to: Beth Terry
date: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 7:57 AM
subject: 7-Eleven Customer Concern
I received your concern regarding the possibility of future plans to individually wrap bananas in plastic. I recently read this article as well [the article in USA Today], and believe I understand your concern, however I don’t want to make assumptions. Please provide me details as to why you would be against this change, and I would be happy to roll up your concerns to the appropriate person. Please know that this is only a small test which is currently only in a small number of stores in Dallas, Texas, and the plan to introduce it nationwide is several months away, and this would only occur if the test had positive results. Please feel free to email me directly or call me at the number listed below to discuss your concerns.
Thank you for your concern, our goal is to meet every customer need or concern, and your feedback is always welcome.
Here is what I wrote back to her today:
from: Beth Terry
to: “McDonald, Kristin” (Kristin.McDonald@7-11.com)
date: Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM
subject: Re: 7-Eleven Customer Concern
Thanks for your response, Kristin.
I have several concerns:
First, of course, is the non-biodegradable waste from plastic packaging. While a banana is completely biodegradable and will compost in about a week or so, a plastic bag lasts virtually forever in the environment.
Second, plastic is made from petrochemicals which are highly toxic from production to disposal. Many of us refuse any food packaged in plastic for this reason and opt for produce that is unwrapped. There are plenty of ways to store produce in the refrigerator without plastic packaging. In fact, the Berkeley Farmers Market has created a comprehensive list of methods for storing produce without plastic.
Third, biodegradable plastic bags are not a solution either. Many biodegradable plastics are problematic. They either break down into smaller pieces of plastic, which are taken up into the food chain, or they are made from GMO crops like corn that use incredible amounts of petrochemicals to grow.
We feel that putting a banana in an extra bag is a big waste of resources and energy when we need to be conserving as much as possible. It is a step in the direction of perceived convenience and plays into our society’s irrational germophobia that is being perpetuated by marketers in order to sell products.
Bananas have a natural wrapper. It is ironic to add plastic to something nature has already protected so well. If the issue is keeping the fruit fresh longer, perhaps 7-Eleven ought to rethink its strategy for selling fruit, promoting bananas more heavily than chips, candy, and other junk food. Higher turnover of the product is a healthier way to ensure freshness than encasing in plastic.
Seems that Del Monte gave me the same response:
Thank you for your response. Del Monte is currently working on a
sustainable packaging solution. As was reported, we are testing the
product to learn consumer response. We know that our customers want
yellow bananas, and for them to stay yellow longer. Interestingly,
there is a positive environmental impact from carrying wrapped bananas.
Because their shelf life is now doubled, the number of truck deliveries
are reduced, which provides a corresponding reduction in the carbon
footprint. With a longer “shelf life”, there is less waste; and food
waste does come with an environmental cost. Many may not know that
imported bananas are transported in plastic bags that control ripening,
dehydration and respiration, whether they are organic, large commercial
or fair trade bananas. Also, there are customers who do not like others
touching food they plan to purchase — even naturally wrapped bananas –
particularly during this period of heightened flu-virus awareness.
Thank you for your comments and we will take them into consideration.
I first read this post yesterday as link off of http://kelliebrown.blogspot.com/ and was appalled like many others, what a stupid idea, bananas have their own beautiful packaging. BUT – after a quick grocery trip to my favorite Trader Joe’s in Folsom , CA (yes, I will name them to embarrass them into making change, they know better) – I found those little fruit and veggies bags placed right next to the banana display…and there was a woman grabbing a bag and putting bananas in it. After a few minutes of glaring, apparently I didn’t get my point across and instead of preaching I decided to go to the source and will be talking to the TJ’s guys about moving the location of the bags. Who bags their bananas, not only are they prepackaged but they are also pre-grouped and attached, its the perfect packaging ensemble.
I wrote to 7-Eleven and Del Monte. When we’re traveling with kids, we sometimes get a little desperate and have to visit convenience stores. I’d hate to have to choose to buy a unhealthy snack or a plastic covered banana!
Here is part of del monte’s reply to me (leaving out the advertising):
Thank you for your recent comments regarding our CRT bananas. For your reassurance, the bags are recyclable and we are still working on a more sustainable solution. Also, these bags do help the environment. Because their shelf life is now doubled, the number of truck deliveries are reduced, which provides a corresponding reduction in the carbon footprint. With a longer shelf life, there is less waste; and food waste does come with an environmental cost. Many may not know that imported bananas are transported in plastic bags that control ripening, dehydration and respiration, whether they are organic, large commercial or fair trade bananas.
I called them! Call the 800 number and press 6. The woman was super nice and even gave me a case number. Please – everyone else call as well!
I suspect that the ripening is part of the point – they probably pick them green and then gas them in the bags (I’m guessing). Most of the plastic litter I find in the street is food packaging, from fast food places or convenience stores. I’ve never found a banana peel… Thanks Erin – I was going to ask about contacting Del Monte too!
Does seem pretty stupid when bananas keep for weeks and the skins keep them clean.. and some people like them over ripe anyway
Besides…don’t bananas ripen FASTER when they’re trapped in a bag with their own ethylene gas?
Not only should we be complaining to 7-11, we should also be demanding that Del Monte Fresh Produce Company ) stop wrapping bananas, and any other fresh produce, in plastic!
Called them and lodged my complaint. Thanks for letting us know about it.
Just sent them a letter!
This plastic promotion must be inspired (wrong word) by the plastics industry. They live in a dream world where plastic is loved by the people and the plastic industry is the leading world industry. They and 7-11 need a reality check.
That has to be one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever seen. WTF.
You know, that plastic wrapper isn’t going to keep that banana from bruising or getting smashed either. Kooky.
I guess at least 7-11s SELL bananas? I thought they just sold twinkies … hey you know what’s yellow on the outside, white on the inside and has a plastic wrapper? A 7-11 banana.
OMG! The atrocity!!!
If that isn’t stupid plastic crap, I don’t know what is. Free the banana!!!
BANANA FAIL! Gotta be on of the worst pacakging ideas I have seen in years. Of course How many people actually buy their produce from 7-11?
Argh! Making packaging biodegradable or recyclable should always take second place to avoiding it in the first place. I hope that the bagged bananas die a swift, swift death.
You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s redonkulous. I swear, people will try anything to turn a buck in this economy. “Hey, did you hear about those NEW bananas?” “Yeah, they’re SEALED FOR FRESHNESS!” *eyes rolling and rolling and…*