New report exposes excess plastic packaging at Whole Foods

Media Contacts

Boston, MA – MASSPIRG Education Fund, Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group released a new report  on Thursday that surveyed plastic packaging used on Whole Foods’ in-house 365 brand products. The report, entitled Whole Foods Plastic Problem: A survey report on single-use packaging at Whole Foods, finds that despite the company’s efforts to reduce plastic use, less than 50% of the products surveyed were available in plastic-free packaging in the majority of Whole Foods stores.  Of the 27 stores surveyed nationwide, two were in Massachusetts and two were in neighboring Rhode Island. 

“Plastic waste is clogging our landfills, littering our streets, polluting our parks and escaping into our rivers and oceans at a rate of 8 million tons a year. Plastic packaging, such as food wrappers, is the most commonly found trash polluting our beaches,” said  Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “To reduce the effects of plastic pollution, corporations need to do their part to eliminate single-use plastic packaging. Our report demonstrates that many Whole Foods food items are needlessly packaged in plastic.”

The survey classified items in three categories: full plastic, partial plastic and plastic-free. Many of the products were packaged in unnecessary plastic: yogurt, for example, was in plastic containers in all 27 stores. 

The report recommends that Whole Foods should take fairly simple steps, such as removing transparent plastic windows from chip bags and pasta boxes and removing plastic packaging from produce, to reduce its stores’ excess plastic waste.

“Whole Foods, once a leader on reducing plastics, is falling short on protecting our planet and eliminating waste produced in its stores,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “For the sake of Massachusetts’ waterways and the wild creatures that are choking on plastics, we urge Whole Foods to do much more to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging waste.”