A Berry Big Problem

I love berries.

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, black raspberries, mullberries, marionberries, gooseberries, you name it I like it :D.

I also happen to love investigating ways to save the environment. And that’s where the problems begin.

When you buy berries in the grocery store, natural food store, or frozen they all come in packaging of some kind– such as the big plastic tubs or non-reusable plastic bags. I just can’t bring myself to create such waste when I will only use the container long enough to transport the berries home (and the berries inside tend to be gone by the end of the day. I freaking love berries!).

When I was younger, we had a black raspberry bush growing in a ravine by where we lived. I would pluck them one by one, enjoying the unique sweetness. Thimbleberries were also rampant in the area when the warm weather rolled in (you don’t tend to see them in stores, because they are extremely delicate). In fact, growing up in the Seattle area, where it rains 300 days out of the year, I became familiar with many berries that you often don’t see in the store. Many U-pick farms were at our disposal, so we could bring our own containers to load up on blueberries and strawberries that were so fresh, from bush to mouth within an hour.

When you don’t live with all that in reach (as I do now) and when the weather doesn’t permit, so much packaging is bagged onto these naturally sustainable gems. It breaks my heart to see all that packaging go to waste– becuase there are only so many plastic containers you can reuse before having to throw them out or recycle, and even recycled plastic never breaks down. Plastic is forever. It never truly breaks down– it simply deconstructs into smaller and smaller particles, the dust of which makes it’s way into every crevice on the earth and every animal’s mouth.

I, however, am of course not perfect. My efforts to freeze local and wildcrafted berries for the winter usually culminates in an empty stash by the end of September, and in the winter I will sometimes break down and buy frozen berries (In fact, my sister gave me frozen berries as a birthday present!). Even local berries, such as the ones I bought the other day at the farmers market, can still come in plastic! I bought them, in their plastic containers, which will inevitably make their way into the trash.

Poor berries got a beating on my bike riding home. They were tasty though– this whole bowl? Yah, gone at the end of the day 😳

Someday, perhaps there will be a cool way to have berries be sold in bulk or packaged in water-resistant biodegrade materials. Or maybe everyone just needs a berry bush in their backyard.

We’ll see.


Is there product you love that you wish were sold or available differently? I really with you could buy Kombucha in bulk (like bring your own five gallon container to fill up!). I would like to start culturing my own.

So you like berries? If you say no…. well, we’ll leave that up to the imagination ;).

This entry was posted in environmental protection, fruit, thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Berry Big Problem

  1. Karine says:

    I was thinking exactly the same thing the other day… Where I live, in regular supermarkets ALL the organic vegetables and fruits are packaged (to make sure they are not switched with non-organic plants) in plastic sheets/containers. 😦 That makes me so sad! I don’t want to choose between no plastic and organic? 😦 (Well I guess I should buy my vegetables at the organic market more often!)
    I found this website : http://www.pickyourown.org/MI.htm , maybe you’ll find a farm close to your area?
    Good luck!

  2. Eggs always come with a ton of wrapping…. the styrofoam is the worst kind of packaging! I love berries, but they are so dang expensive! I tend to buy them frozen, that way they come in the plastic bags (not sure if that is better for the environment than the plastic containers)

    – Nicole

  3. I do love berries, so please don’t throw anything at me 😉 But I agree that the plastic/waste they come in is a bit of a turn off. I try to avoid excessive waste, which is maybe why I love bananas and melons so much… nothing but natural packaging there 😀 Unfortunately, it’s not all that easy to avoid waste in this day and age, but maybe you could find a farm near you and go pick your own berries in reusable containers?

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