Many supermarkets are already dispensing with plastic bags for fruit and vegetables. Instead they offer paper bags or the goods are put directly into the shopping cart. But tomatoes, pears or carrots are still mostly still sold in cheap plastic containers. "The environmental awareness of the Germans has increased significantly in recent years. It has meanwhile become clear to many that plastic packaging, which is mainly produced from crude oil, is neither environmentally friendly nor healthy. In addition, packaging made of wood offers a sustainable alternative," explained Michael Sandhas, Chairman of GROW Association for Ecofriendly Wood Packaging e.V.
Fruits and vegetables - as can be seen from the examples of strawberries and tomatoes - thrive particularly well in the microclimate of wooden climbing. (Photos: GROW)
Several studies, many done in Spain, have shown that plastic packaging is not only harmful to the environment, but can also affect people's health. According to the current AGR159 study Residues of pesticides, which was conducted at the University of Almeria, plastic packaging can transfer unwanted substances to the food. In addition to this, microplastic eventually ends up in the seas and oceans. There they are picked up by fish that could eventually end up on people's plates again. It is not only for this reason that the EU has recently started fighting numerous disposable plastic articles.
"If we look at these arguments, it becomes clear that there is still a lot of catching up to do in terms of environmentally friendly packaging in Germany. Trade could not only promote health and the environment through the increased use of wood packaging, but also take into account the increased environmental awareness of consumers. Anyone switching to wood now will score points with the customers," argues GROW CEO Uwe Groll. Wooden trays and crates, Groll continued, are creating a unique selling proposition for their assortments on an increasingly fiercely competitive food market. The switch from plastic to wood is worthwhile.
Basically, wood is a healthy and sustainable alternative that has always existed and has been greatly improved by modern production methods. The crates create their own microclimate, where fruits and vegetables stay appetizing and fresh for longer. In terms of hygiene, wood also offers natural properties and advantages over alternative materials. With these, there is no danger of carry-over of pesticides or resistant germs.
In terms of sustainability and quality, GROW in particular is working from state-of-the-art standards. Its member companies obtain their wood exclusively from certified municipal or state forestry offices and everything is subject to very strict quality guidelines in terms of production. Thus, for every box, the whole production process can be traced, from tree to tray. The GROW companies have also set their sights on a higher degree of automation and compatibility with other packaging than is seen in the current industry.