There was a noticeable reduction in only four of the 13 companies examined. Compared to 2019, however, all companies with one exception offer more open goods. Two years ago, consumer advocates first raised, offered packaged in various apples, cucumbers, carrots, peppers and tomatoes. On average, it was found that more than 60 percent of the goods produce plastic waste, especially at large discounters and supermarket operators.
“Same as last year”
In August, test buyers were back in Vienna, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Salzburg. 1,691 individual items in 56 stores were recorded. Of these, 1,133 items or 67 percent were offered packaged. “That is exactly the same value as last year,” said the testers in the “Konsument” magazine (October issue).
The lion’s share is made up of plastic, the rest is cardboard and paper. 14 percent of plastic packaging is clearly labeled as compostable. “Since disposal, at least as far as Vienna is concerned, does not take place through any channels like normal plastic – everything ends up in the waste incineration – we make a difference here,” explained the VKI.
“It is unfortunate when companies vow to reduce plastic waste, but the facts speak a different language. In view of the increasingly urgent climate and environmental crisis, it would be important to reduce the amount of plastic waste as much as possible, ”said Birgit Beck from the VKI.
Depending on the provider, large differences were again found: The quota ranged from 14 percent for organic providers to 76 percent for Penny. Two percent retail companies have noticeably reduced their plastic quota since 2019: Interspar (from 65 to 48) and Nah & Frisch (from 55 to 41 percent).
At the time of the test, almost 85 percent of the carrots were packed. At Spar Gourmet, Billa plus, Billa and Penny, around 90 percent of the tomatoes were only available under plastic wrap. There is basically a trend towards loose goods for cucumbers, so plastic packaging is also on the decline for apples.
Large share of household waste
A common argument in favor of plastic – what is packaged lasts longer and less of it has to be thrown away. Let the consumer advocates not simply apply: “That may be true for the shops, but the consumer has to deal with the garbage that arises.”
“Packaging waste makes up a large proportion of household waste. In addition to the resource remuneration, the waste disposal takes time and costs money. In addition, large packs often cannot be used up completely – so even more food is thrown away in the household, ”according to the VKI.