Eco-Living Magazine

Wasteful Food Packaging

Posted on the 06 May 2011 by Livinggreenor

Since when does something already in a “wrapper” need to be wrapped again?  Does the outer peel of an orange, banana, coconut, mango or anything else really NOT serve a purpose that it needs to be coated, covered and smothered in plastic?  Or maybe we need to start individually wrapping each peanut, raisin or prune, too… Oh wait! We’re already doing that!

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

A while back I posted my first Wordless Wednesday post and showed a simple picture of an individual banana wrapped in plastic.  That image stuck with me and I decided to dedicate an entire post to the subject.

 I remember when my grandmother used to make lunches for my Papa (grandfather).  She’d always give him 3-5 prunes in his lunch in a little plastic baggie.  Yes, it was plastic and I don’t think she reused it.  But, it was about the only disposable thing in his lunch: he had a hard-cased lunch tote, with a thermos for his coffee and even a cloth napkin.  Who said we need to put everything in individually wrapped packages?  Do they realize exactly how much garbage they’re/we’re creating?

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

If you couldn’t tell, this really irks me.  The marketing and advertisers saying “you need this” – for the sake of what, convenience?  Is it really that convenient to have to empty your garbage out more often to account for the additional packaging?  I even noticed an ad in a magazine a while ago with a mom in the front seat of her mini-van handing her child in the back a plastic, disposable bowl of Quaker Instant Oatmeal with a plastic, disposable spoon.  Convenient, yes.  But what message is that sending to the general public?  Why not get up a little earlier and eat at the table using durable dishes and oatmeal purchased in a larger container, not ones that are individually packaged for one serving.  Imagine the quality time spent with your family, the waste and money you’ll save!  It’s a novel idea, right?

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

Potatoes of all shapes and sizes have even fallen to this monstrosity - why?! Don’t we wash and scrub the heck out of a potato before we cook/eat them?  I do, even if they are organic (which potatoes should be as their on the “dirty” list).

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

And how about these jelly beans?  The Jelly Belly 20 Flavor Twists come individually wrapped – yes, individually wrapped.  Again, is it really necessary?  Are peanuts (in the shell) going to be next?

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

Even Jon Stewart agrees with me on the subject, quoting “What function does the plastic bag serve that the banana peel does not serve?”  This was in response to Del Monte’s individually plastic wrapped banana’s that I mentioned earlier.

The Daily Show – Intro – Pantry of Shame
Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook


And this rant would not be complete without mention of Trader Joe’s.  You love to hate them, why?  They package their produce in plastic (and I’ve even seen some in styrofoam).  Gasp!  You love the place for it’s great, low prices on good eats, but you hate the place for it’s excessive use of packaging.  I’m not one to do some of my grocery shopping at one place, then drive to another, etc. so I simply boycott Trader Joe’s.  Yes, you heard right!  Invest in scales at the register, do something!  But please, for the love of humanity STOP BEING SO WASTEFUL!

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

So please, I beg you… when you’re grocery shopping, please try to make wise purchasing decisions.  Do you really need to buy something wrapped so heavily in plastic or packaged to death?  Might you be able to purchase that oatmeal in bulk then divide it up individually in your own containers?  I promise it’ll be cheaper – and who doesn’t like to save some money?  Remember, garbage has to go somewhere.  I’ve seen that “somewhere” and trust me, it ain’t pretty!

Wasteful Food Packaging: Would you Like Some Food with your Plastic?

Have you seen something that you thought could do with less packaging?  If so, please let us know!

{cucumber image credit: eco chicago}
{single-serve raisins/prunes & yogurt, rice, etc. image credit: the daily green}
{shrink wrapped potato image credit: earth and industry}
{individually wrapped jelly bellies image credit: nbrier}
{three plastic wrapped Trader Joe’s images: the colonic}
{wrapped produce credit: gene friend design}

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