May 12, 2008

Week 47 Results: .05 oz of plastic waste and A CONTEST

So the million dollar question is: Why do organic bananas come with a little bit of plastic around the stems when regular bananas do not? Inquiring minds want to know. There’s plenty of speculation, but I haven’t heard the definitive answer from an expert. So here’s the contest: Since I don’t actually have a million dollars to spend, I’ll give away your choice of Sierra Club’s Hey Mr. Green, which I reviewed last week, or the Ridley plastic bag carrier, also reviewed last week, to the first person who can find the answer to the banana question. It must be an answer from an actual expert. A produce clerk might be okay if they really seem like they know the answer and are not just speculating out of thin air. But I’d really like the answer to come from someone in the banana industry, and I just don’t have the time to find out for myself. I’m sure the rest of FPF readers will thank you for your efforts. Oh, and Terrible Person, I think you are automatically disqualified because you live with me, so while I welcome your research skills, you can’t win the prize.

All right, here’s last week’s tally. It’s all new plastic.

  • 2 pieces of plastic from a couple bunches of organic bananas
  • 1 strip of tape from a package that was sent to me (But at this point I can’t remember which package it was.)
  • 1 plastic wrap from the opening of a Preserve toothbrush container
  • 1 bandaid and 1 piece of medical tape from donating blood last Monday. There is soooo much plastic involved in giving blood, but this is the only type I brought home with me. In fact, I plan to write more about plastic tubing and medical bags later this week because some of the plastic issues are quite troublesome.

That’s it for last week. I’m 5 weeks away from the 1-year anniversary of FPF! What should we do to celebrate? Let’s start planning the party now!

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17 Comments on "Week 47 Results: .05 oz of plastic waste and A CONTEST"

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I wondered about the plastic tape on the organic bananas as well. That is how I ended up here. Not only is there plastic tape but beneath the plastic tape there is paper tape. If I had to guess I would say that the paper tape is probably treated with something to prevent deterioration of the stem by some pesky fungus. As far as identication of the product by the checker this may work but I doubt the banana producers would care abou that enough to put tape on every bunch of bananas. They are marked as 'Organic' and if… Read more »

I forewarded your site to my wife who is a green team member in her company. I challenged her team to see if they can figure out how much plastic they (as a company) are sending out.
I missed the photo of you as a brita filter :o(

Since I was picking up some fruits and veggies at the market yesterday, including some bananas, I figured I’d take the opportunity to approach the resident produce guy about the plastic bands. He said that its very easy to split apart bunches of bananas, and typically not all of them have the 94011 sticker on them indicating that they’re organic. Having the plastic on them makes it very easy for the checkers to identify that they’re indeed organic, and therefore able to charge us the right amount…Seems to make sense to me, but once you’ve split a bunch, the band… Read more »

This also about cheese: I heard mozzarella only takes a short amount of time to make! I’m planning on learning, so I can let you know how it goes, if you’d like!

This has nothing to do with bananas. I wonder if you have ever considered learning how to make your own cheese. A) it’s fun, B) you can make sure it’s organic, rBST free, etc., C) it’s an excuse to avoid MORE PLASTIC! The whole subject of making cheese, to most people, induces a reaction of “uh, isn’t that, like, some sort of a deep culinary black art that mere mortals should cower in fear of?” Well, no. It’s actually pretty easy, depending on the type of cheese, how much space you have to work with, and how committed (or not)… Read more »

ps–Sorry about the typos; I should have looked back over that. Oops.

As a grocery store checkout person (who has friends in the Produce department, I might add), I’m not quite an expert, but I’ll say that what the people above me have said makes sense. Except in the grocery store where I work, the organic bananas do not have plastic around the top of the bunch, instead they have a large oval sticker across the several bananas at the front of the bunch proclaiming them organic… and the smaller stickers on the individual bananas are marked with the #94011 PLU instead of the usual #4011. That’s the main difference in the… Read more »
If you read the comments on the earth first site, this is attached: One Response to “Why Are Organic Bananas Wrapped in Plastic?” 1. Luis Monge on February 21st, 2008 6:31 pm Just wanted to clarify that putting bananas in a plastic bag WILL NOT speed up their rippening process. Plastic bags are used because the retailers need that everybody pays for the product that is buying. Many people take the stickers off of the organic bananas and claim that they are conventional at the cashier. We do not make any money out of the plastic bags, we will love… Read more »

Plastic on bananas: The bananas are wrapped in plastic to hasten ripening. when they put them in the stores, they just don’t cut that little piece off the top.

Also – interesting side note. I started my blog right around the same time as you. What a hoot.
Beth Terry… corporatecowgirl dot com

I’ve been wondering too. Usually, I leave the plastic on until all of the bananas are gone, but this last time, I took it off to see what happened. The stems of the bananas turned black and hard pretty quickly. The banana was still completely edible, but I’m guessing they are much harder to sell like that, because we’re not used to seeing bananas with black, woody stems.

I like the photo of one of your beautiful kittens checking out that tiny bit of your plastic waste for the week. An adorable little foster kitten sits on my lap, purring, looking at me and his plastic life of nursing bottle, Mister Microwave, dishpan litter box, carrier, container in which his formula is mixed and stored, container in which his dry food waits for him to figure out how to eat it, and an assortment of balls he doesn’t yet know how to play with. These are tools I use constantly when fostering cats and kittens and I truly… Read more »

I once asked the Whole Foods produce guy why they do it, and he said what hamster said…it’s so the person ringing it up at the register can distinguish between the non-organic and organic.

Nice kitty

*pet* *pet* *pet*

(sorry, I just loves the kitties)

In grocery stores at which I shop, all the organic produce has tape wrapped around it (I think paper tape, but I’m not sure) saying “ORGANIC” alongside the PLU number. It draws the cashier’s attention to the fact that this isn’t the “regular” produce.

The organic bananas don’t always have plastic wrap on them, though — nor do they have black mold :-) However, anti-mold seems the most logical explanation to me.

I don’t know exactly what the plastic thing round the bananas was or how it works in the US, but here in the UK organic veg is always packaged or labelled so the cashiers can tell it apart from the tasteless, pesticide-riddled stuff (I refuse to call it ‘conventional’!) when you get to the checkout, otherwise all bananas look pretty much the same. Might it be something like that?

ooo, fungicide. yummy.


Not up to my ears in credit card debt.

Beth, I think it’s to prevent mold.