Trader Joe’s Commits to Changing the One Thing We Dislike Most

published Oct 25, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Masur

We have a track record of constantly singing Trader Joe’s praises in nearly every department. Except for one: the produce section. While this grocery chain may have the best flowers, snacks, dips, frozen dinners, cheese, and wine, we’ve always taken issue with the amount of plastic packaging in the produce selection. So much waste! (In fact, Kitchn feels so strongly that two years ago they posted about this very issue.)

But we were heartened to hear in an episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s Podcast that the powers that be at TJ’s are working to change that. “From a sustainability point of view, we continue to try to work to become more environmentally friendly either by taking plastic out, replacing it with something that is either compostable or more easily recyclable … that’s our goal.”

One very tangible update on this front is rolling out into stores now. You know those long English cucumbers that are wrapped in plastic? It’s a pet peeve that has bugged many a TJ’s shopper, but it’s there for good reason: “One of the reasons that people love [English cucumbers] is they have a very thin skin … which tends to dry out really quickly and shrivel on the end. So we’ve always needed to have a plastic wrap, but what we’ve done is we’ve come up with a plant-based compostable wrap. It’s not as clear as a plastic wrap, but you can still see the cucumber.”

Credit: Tracey Gertler

Kitchn’s Production Editor, Tracey Gertler, spotted the new compostable wrap in the wild as you can see here.

The best part is that even if you don’t keep a separate compost collection at home, this wrapper made from organic material will disintegrate after just 12 months in the regular trash. If you think this cucumber news is small potatoes on the sustainability front, prepare to be amazed by the following fun fact:

“We sell about 300,000 English cucumbers a week. That’s over 15 million a year. So while it seems to be a very small change in the scheme of produce, where you’re just saving one little item, that’s how you get there,” says Jack.

One small step for cucumber, one giant leap for mankind!

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: Trader Joe’s Commits to Changing the One Thing We Dislike Most