All the while I was thinking when we shrink-wrapped a cucumber we were generating more plastic waste and creating more environmental hazard. Actually I was wrong! Shrink-wrap actually has a net gain for the environment.
According to the book Why Shrink-Wrap a Cucumber: A Complete Guide to Environmental Packaging an unwrapped cucumber loses 3.5% of its weight after just three days of sitting out While a shrink-wrapped cucumber will only lose 1.5% of its weight over 2 weeks.
In U.K., one third of all food is simply thrown away. We often let the food rotted before we remember to take it out of the fridge for dinner. Shrink-wrapped a cucumber actually prevents food waste; reduces the use of fertilizer, water, and pesticides for growing more cucumbers to replace wasted ones; reduces fossil fuels used to transport them; and reduces methane gas production while throwing away.
In conclusion, even we use more plastic when shrink-wrapping a cucumber, considering the whole-cycle from cucumber growing, transporting, wasting and ending in landfill, the practice actually produces a net gain for the environment.