"Supermarkets like packaging fresh food so much because it greatly reduces wastage. Where apples, for example, are displayed loose, customers pick only the best ones, leaving a great many second-rate apples for the supermarket to throw away."
Yes, the punters are forced to take home items which are often mouldy because they can't properly inspect the produce. That's what happens when the supermarkets have a bunch of people pack the produce into black plastic boxes. I don't have a problem with putting stuff in lightweight transparent plastic bags, and I'll always choose stuff packaged in that way over pretty, "value added", "nanny teach you that A is for apple" boxed produce which the supermarkets seem to love.
"When the apples are packaged, not only do they keep fresh for longer, but also customers are forced to take away the 2nd rate apples in a pack along with the best ones."
Indeed. I don't object to lightweight packaging; I do object to excessive packaging.
"There's an environmental angle as well as the cost issue- packaging prevents huge quantities of food from being produced and transported to stores only to be thrown away."
So you make a load of synthetic materials and because this takes up more space in your truck, it's good for the environment? I suppose if you make your logistics as oil-intensive as possible, you might be more frugal when the oil price goes up, but I'm not sure that this is a great sustainability policy. Maybe it makes sense to people in Britain where instead of trying to understand supply and demand, people picket oil refineries when oil gets expensive.
"As for plastic bags being a major issue- DO piss off."
One major issue was the observation that wild animals happen to ingest plastic bags or are immobilised by them. Maybe this isn't an issue for you, but that doesn't mean that others haven't learned to join the dots.
"Your computer's electricity requirements have probably produced more CO2 while you've been reading this than a fortnight's supply of Sainsburys bags. Anyway, didn't plastic consumption for supermarket bags actually increase in Ireland after they eliminated disposables?"
Total plastic consumption may have increased, probably because people presumably decided that they needed to encase everything in yet another layer of heavier plastic.