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Ideas for buying berries without plastic?


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#1 tenar

Posted 20 January 2020 - 05:53 PM

The best tomatoes seem to consistently be little ones.  We usually get baby Roma or cherry tomatoes.  We also buy several punnets of berries a week.

Does anyone know where to find these things without so much plastic?  In inner Melbourne for a non-obscene price?

The amount of packaging in our fruit and veg groceries is awful.  

What do you do?

#2 Riotproof

Posted 20 January 2020 - 05:55 PM

Do you have any chain fruit and veg stores? Harris farm is NSW based, but they often have loose cherry tomatoes you by priced per kilo. I have never seen strawberries that way though. I suspect they would bruise and spoil too easily.

#3 kimasa

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:07 PM

Non-inner Melbourne: Some u-picks let you bring your own containers. We go to Chappies in Silvan.

Otherwise, I too would love to know.

Edited by kimasa, 20 January 2020 - 06:08 PM.


#4 Bereckii

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:09 PM

Me too!

And those baby cucumbers too! (Qukes?) Kids love them. They are perfect for packed lunches. But so much plastic!

#5 Ozquoll

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:14 PM

My local IGA sells (largeish) cherry tomatoes on trusses, no plastic. I imagine most people put them in plastic bags but I just carry the whole truss to the register.

My unhelpful suggestion for the berries is to pop down to Bunnings - I was there this arvo and the little blueberry plants had so much ripe fruit on them, just going to waste. I munched quite a few of them as I wandered round the garden section...luckily it was raining so they'd even been washed for me 😄

In all seriousness, blueberries are beautiful plants and grow well in Melbourne as long as you water them in extended dry periods. I plan to grow them myself this year.

#6 Ozquoll

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:18 PM

One other suggestion - if you have a farmers market nearby, you may be able to organise with berry-growers to give you loose produce that they havent transported in plastic. Might be worth getting bulk amounts that way and freezing them?

#7 NannyPlumPudding

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:21 PM

We bought a blueberry Bush and it's been going gangbusters! Just this morning I pulled off a punnet worth of fruit 😁👍

#8 Silver Girl

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:46 PM

View PostBereckii, on 20 January 2020 - 06:09 PM, said:

Me too!

And those baby cucumbers too! (Qukes?) Kids love them. They are perfect for packed lunches. But so much plastic!

A Coles near me has started selling loose qukes, cherry tomatoes and baby capsicums. Paper bags are provided to carry the produce.

It’s called Pick & Mix. It is expensive, at $24 per kg.

A greengrocer I go to also has loose qukes.

ETA: changed ‘cucumbers’ to ‘capsicums’.

Edited by Silver Girl, 20 January 2020 - 08:43 PM.


#9 Ivy Ivy

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:47 PM

My SIL just told me the little plastic berry containers are recyclable.  I'd been throwing them away, I hadn't realised.

#10 Bereckii

Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:57 PM

View PostSilver Girl, on 20 January 2020 - 06:46 PM, said:



A Coles near me has started selling loose qukes, cherry tomatoes and baby cucumbers. Paper bags are provided to carry the produce.

It’s called Pick & Mix. It is expensive, at $24 per kg.

A greengrocer I go to also has loose qukes.

Wait. More expensive for less packaging? Scratching my head...!

#11 Mooples

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:30 PM

A few green grocers near me sell the baby cucumbers loose, my kids love them.

#12 PrincessPeach

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:36 PM

View PostIvy Ivy, on 20 January 2020 - 06:47 PM, said:

My SIL just told me the little plastic berry containers are recyclable.  I'd been throwing them away, I hadn't realised.

The hard ones are, the soft plastic surrounding the baby cucumbers isnt, unless your local colesworth has a soft plastics recycling bin.

#13 Ozquoll

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:40 PM

View PostBereckii, on 20 January 2020 - 06:57 PM, said:



Wait. More expensive for less packaging? Scratching my head...!
The supermarkets often do that - my local Coles sells 1kg bags of carrots for $1, sometimes $1.20. The loose carrots are usually around $2.20 a kilo, and they don't look as nice as the bagged ones 🤨. They are giving a veneer of choice while steering the vast majority of people towards the option with more packaging 😡

#14 Riotproof

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:42 PM

They do that because it does actually cost them more to handle a million tomatoes versus 100 000 packets of 10 tomatoes.

#15 CAM03

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:48 PM

Some Aldi stores sell strawberries in cardboard punnet containers with a plastic film lid - I put the cardboard in the compost and the soft plastic can be recycled at Coles/Woolworths - the strawberries are more expensive though...

I think there needs to be a packaging tax - maybe then there would be some more innovative and less wasteful packaging options.

#16 Ozquoll

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:48 PM

View PostRiotproof, on 20 January 2020 - 07:42 PM, said:

They do that because it does actually cost them more to handle a million tomatoes versus 100 000 packets of 10 tomatoes.
Yeah, I know, but it is rather galling that they simultaneously got rid of (somewhat) reusable shopping bags while pushing more and more single use plastic packaging on customers. And although the price differential I mentioned might be explained by higher labour costs in handling unpackaged carrots, they are also inferior to the packaged ones - the loose ones are usually too big and woody to be nice raw. Surely they are doing this deliberately to push people towards buying the 1kg packs?

#17 Ozquoll

Posted 20 January 2020 - 07:51 PM

View PostCAM03, on 20 January 2020 - 07:48 PM, said:

I think there needs to be a packaging tax - maybe then there would be some more innovative and less wasteful packaging options.
I sort of agree, but how would we stop Colesworths just covering the extra cost of the tax by squeezing their suppliers even harder than they already do?

#18 Riotproof

Posted 20 January 2020 - 08:13 PM

View PostOzquoll, on 20 January 2020 - 07:48 PM, said:

Yeah, I know, but it is rather galling that they simultaneously got rid of (somewhat) reusable shopping bags while pushing more and more single use plastic packaging on customers. And although the price differential I mentioned might be explained by higher labour costs in handling unpackaged carrots, they are also inferior to the packaged ones - the loose ones are usually too big and woody to be nice raw. Surely they are doing this deliberately to push people towards buying the 1kg packs?

not sure. I notice the opposite actually, but I try not to but fruit and veg from colesworth.. always goes off so quickly, it isn’t worth it.

#19 PuddingPlease

Posted 20 January 2020 - 08:54 PM

View PostBereckii, on 20 January 2020 - 06:57 PM, said:

Wait. More expensive for less packaging? Scratching my head...!

Labour would definitely be one factor but I feel like the biggest issue here is likely to be waste. Loose baby capsicums, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes bruise and damage very easily and look a bit tired in a very short time. It's easy to forget how effective plastic packaging is in reducing food waste, which has a huge environmental impact due to the carbon footprint of food production. I'm not suggesting that there are easy answers but, even with CERES organic deliveries, berries always come in a plastic punnet. I assume otherwise it isn't possible to ship them at all.

#20 EmmDasher

Posted 20 January 2020 - 09:00 PM

Our local fruit store now has some things packaged in little cardboard like boxes which are made of a sugar cane material and home compostable - they’re still glad wrapped over the top but it’s less plastic. I quite like it and I’ve seen it pop up in Woolies occasionally too. I haven’t seen anyone use it for berries but cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, baby capsicum. I can’t see why berries wouldn’t go that way eventually provided that there’s demand.

#21 Fossy

Posted 20 January 2020 - 09:28 PM

If you're close to Burwood, the new Woolies sells loose berries and cherry tomatoes.  Part of their sustainability requirement to be in the building I believe. They probably have other things too.

#22 Pearson

Posted 21 January 2020 - 03:32 AM

View PostSilver Girl, on 20 January 2020 - 06:46 PM, said:



A Coles near me has started selling loose qukes, cherry tomatoes and baby capsicums. Paper bags are provided to carry the produce.

It’s called Pick & Mix. It is expensive, at $24 per kg.

A greengrocer I go to also has loose qukes.

ETA: changed ‘cucumbers’ to ‘capsicums’.

Possibly just as expensive as buying them in packages.

#23 rowd

Posted 21 January 2020 - 05:36 AM

Do you have any berry farms/growers near you? Where I live strawberries are put in compostable cardboard punnets, which is doable because they are picked and sold on the same premises.

#24 Silver Girl

Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:01 AM

View PostPearson, on 21 January 2020 - 03:32 AM, said:



Possibly just as expensive as buying them in packages.

I thought it might be, but qukes in packages work out to be about $12 per kg, mini capsicums and the types of tomatoes they were selling are around $17 per kg packaged.

#25 Bereckii

Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:38 AM

View PostSilver Girl, on 21 January 2020 - 06:01 AM, said:



I thought it might be, but qukes in packages work out to be about $12 per kg, mini capsicums and the types of tomatoes they were selling are around $17 per kg packaged.

Yep, this week qukes were $11.80 per kilo and Perino tomatoes $15 per kilo in my shop.

Edited by Bereckii, 21 January 2020 - 06:39 AM.





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