Petition to cut excess packaging at Cold Storage, Giant supermarkets gets 5,500 signatures

Their parent company, Dairy Farm International, says they're working to reduce unnecessary packaging.

Jeanette Tan | January 10, 2018 @ 10:43 am


If you often go supermarket shopping, you might have noticed that quite a number of fruits and veggies at Cold Storage and Giant are individually packed:

Photo via Change.org petition

One Vivien Cheong noticed this, and it stirred her to start an online petition to highlight the issue to the stores.

And over the past week, it has gained some attention online, racking up in excess of 5,500 signatures.

Her message was simple:

“There has been an unnecessary use of cling wrap and plastic particularly on fresh produce at the various Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets in Singapore.

As consumers we would like to eliminate the unnecessary use of plastic to help our community strive towards a more sustainable future and create awareness on the importance of a zero waste lifestyle.”

Packaging “applied by suppliers” to reduce damage, preserve “organic integrity”

In a statement responding to queries from Mothership, a spokesperson for Dairy Farm International, the parent company of Cold Storage, Giant, Jasons MarketPlace and even convenience store chain 7-11, made the following points:

  1. As the majority of the supermarket’s fresh produce is sourced from overseas, many suppliers originally pack them individually to reduce damage in the delivery process and keep them fresher for a longer time.
  2. Organic products are sometimes wrapped to preserve their organic integrity and/or differentiate them from their non-organic counterparts.
  3. Sometimes, stuff are wrapped because of “operational needs” like putting on barcodes and special offer stickers.

That said, the spokesperson added they are working with suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging, and where unavoidable, to switch to more “environmentally-safe” packing materials.

They have also reached out to Cheong to share this and discuss it further with her in person.

Increased consciousness of going green

In recent years especially, supermarkets in Singapore have been feeling the pressure to be more environmentally-friendly, particularly because we’ve been lagging behind our overseas counterparts on this front.

As this commentary points out, some countries ban plastic bags in supermarkets altogether, while others levy extra charges for their use.

Notably, also, in the height of the haze back in October 2015, supermarkets here, taking the lead from NTUC FairPrice, removed from their shelves products from Asia Pulp and Paper, which was alleged to have been among the companies burning forests and contributing to the cross-boundary air pollution.

Pleasantly, Cold Storage did also initiate a Bring-Your-Own-Bag campaign in 2017, where reusable bags were given free to shoppers who bought at least $20 of groceries and didn’t take any plastic bags.

But of course, as the commentary writer David Leo points out, more needs to be done, and the habit of not taking plastic bags can be trained among us stubborn Singaporeans — as well as supermarkets and stores that are concerned about food waste, damage and hygiene.

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Top photo via Getty Images

About Jeanette Tan

Jeanette takes pride in her ability to sing the complete lyrics to "Hakuna Matata" and a host of other Disney songs. She is also enslaved to Katherine, George and Heidi, her three cats.

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