The sale of packaged peeled oranges is “convenience gone mad,” says the founder of Clean Up Australia Day.
Twitter user Nathalie Gordon shared a photo of the peeled fruit online, after she spotted the new concept on the shelves of US upscale supermarket Whole Foods.
Her tweet about the skinless citrus has since gone viral, attracting more than 80,000 retweets.
“Guess I can continue not eating oranges then, since the pain in my hands makes removing the peel hard on me, thanks!” Loremaster Becks tweeted.
But Clean Up Australia Day founder Ian Kiernan said the payoff for convenience was not worth ruining the environment.
As more than 700,000 people took to streets, waterways and parklands for the annual clean up event on Sunday, Mr Kiernan said he would not want to see the peeled products on Australian shelves.
“This is absolutely stupid,” he said.
“Mother Nature packages fruits perfect; it’s just madness.
“Plastics are made mostly from oil, and while it’s durable and has many benefits in the world, plastics are a terrible waste.
“This is convenience gone mad really.
“The more fruits that are pre-cut and packaged just adds to the burden.”
Pre-peeled oranges pulled from shelves
A Whole Foods spokeswoman said many customers loved the convenience their range of cut produce offered.
But the company tweeted back Ms Gordon to say the item had been pulled from the shelves.
“This was a simple case where a handful of stores experimented with a seasonal product,” the spokeswoman said.
According to US National Park Service, it can take up to 450 years for a plastic beverage bottle to degrade. An orange peel would only take up to five weeks.
Throughout the country at more than 7,000 clean up sites, volunteers are expected to collect at least 16,000 tonnes of rubbish on Clean Up Australia Day.
Last year, more than a third of items collected were plastics including food wrappers and plastic bottles.
“People need to remember that what they dropped on the street will likely end up on our waterways,” Mr Kiernan said.
The Clean Up Australia Day group is pushing for Australia-wide container deposit legislation to allow people to collect money, similar to SA, in return for recycling cans and bottles.
If only bananas had robust, natural, bio-degradable packaging of their own. Some sort of peelable skin, perhaps. pic.twitter.com/QyJ6Ew6V4w
— Tim Brannigan (@tim_brannigan) November 6, 2014