Near the top of my list of irritating things these days are those tiny plastic stickers found on fruit that you buy at the grocery store. There is nothing new about this; these stickers have been around for years. I try my best to use fewer plastic bags that are clogging up the oceans and landfills but, then, right before my eyes on almost every single banana, tomato, and apple I buy at the grocery is that stupid, shiny plastic sticker, which always appears as if it is laughing at me when I attempt to remove it without damaging the soft skin of a ripe piece of fruit.
Who can remember what those codes mean anyway? Does the 4-digit code signify organic or is that the 5-digit code? Does a code beginning with an “8” mean that the product was genetically modified? Apparently an “8” is supposed to mean GMO but the fruit is often not labeled as such. If we must have these stickers, can’t the codes just be something like “S”, which means Safe, and “NS”, which means Not Safe, and “NSu”, which means Not Sure? You know, it is like the weather report with temperature and wind chill factor. Don’t give me all that Ms. Weatherperson. Just say, “Wear a jacket”, or “A T-shirt will be fine today”.
In addition, management and I throw all of our kitchen waste into our compost pile in the garden, but those plastic stickers do not decompose. A year later, I can still read the word “Costa Rica” on an old sticker that inadvertently got past me, and is lying carefree in the garden. They’re ugly and unsightly; simply put, they diminish the Zen that resides in my vegetable garden space. And because I can’t stand to leave them in the compost pile, I am compelled to pick them out of that mess whenever I discover one.
So, what to do? There is nothing to be done if you buy your produce at a grocery store instead of a farmer’s market (sticker-free) except to meticulously peel off each and every one of those damn things. Buy the fruit, bring it home, PEEL, and then wash and store. Then, the next time you bring fruit home, rinse and repeat.