Local grassroots organization 350 Silicon Valley held a demonstration at the Centennial Plaza in Mountain View on Saturday, July 23, calling on Trader Joe's to reduce its single-use plastic packaging.
"Shoppers arrived with laundry jugs, chip bags, clamshell berry containers, soda bottles, polystyrene food containers, oil bottles, various plastic pouches, bags and plastic film — all unwanted by-products of shopping at Trader Joe’s," the organization said in a statement after the event. "Nearly all of this is trash that ends up in local landfills or incinerators — or worse, in local creeks, the Bay, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean."
350 Silicon Valley member Luna Wei said that while all grocery stores are responsible for reducing excessive single-use plastic packaging, "it is visible stepping into the produce section at Trader Joe's that there is a particularly egregious amount of single-use plastic packaging for produce."
Wei said Trader Joe’s owns the entire vertical of its product and packaging, which means the company has the ability to offer plastic-free options. 350 Silicon Valley and five other 350-affiliated groups in Seattle, New York, Florida, Colorado and Boston also hosted take-backs targeting Trader Joe's.
According to event organizers, protesters were joined by Mountain View Council member Pat Showalter and Nicholas Hargis, a representative of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto).
"The group held signs and spoke on the impacts of the wasteful culture of plastic packaging and its connection to health, the environment and our urgent need to decarbonize California and the planet," the statement said. "The event was part of a national day of action, organized by Beyond Plastics, which holds that banning single-use plastic is the only way out of the plastics problem."