Morrisons has announced plans to remove plastic wrapping from most of its cucumbers in its latest step in the war on plastic.
The Big 4 retailer said the move will prevent 16 million plastic sleeves being used each year.
The plastic-free cucumbers will only be available March and October when they are sourced from British growers.
From November to February, Morrisons imports cucumbers from Spain or Greece and these would be wrapped to keep them fresh as they make their way to the UK.
The retailer also pointed out that cucumbers sold in halves would continue to be wrapped in plastic to maintain their shelf life.
Despite this, various environmental charities have accused Morrisons of ignoring the risk that plastic-free cucumbers could pose to food waste.
The Cucumber Growers’ Association also said plastic wrapping stopped cucumbers from dehydrating and was more hygienic.
While Morrisons conceded that its own tests showed that naked cucumbers expired two days earlier than wrapped ones, the insisted that it was responding to customer feedback.
“We’ve listened to customers’ concerns and we are doing what we can to remove plastic packaging,” Morrisons salads buying manager Richard Hatherly said.
“While plastic can serve a purpose, we believe this move will remove it from the environment without leading to food waste.”
It comes several weeks after the grocery chain said it would bring back paper bags for loose fruit and vegetables as an alternative to plastic bags.
Paper bags have a higher carbon footprint than plastic bags, but as it did with cucumber wrapping, Morrisons said it was responding to customer concern that plastic waste was a bigger problem.