Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My beef with packaging

In the last year or so, I've developed hate for packaging.  All kinds of it.  It started with grocery bags, which most people around here are on the wagon about, and has moved on to all kinds of other stuff.  I started asking myself, (as I recycled and threw away gobs and gobs of plastic, tape, boxes, tubs, trays, etc,) is all this really necessary? 

We are pretty excessive about our packaging at times.  Why do the cookies have to be individually wrapped, stacked into a tray and then wrapped again?  Why does the cereal have to be in two containers?  Can't you just print all the info on the bag?  Ok, I know why they do it; convenience, marketing, making it look like you get more than you actually do, blah blah blah.  But c'mon.

I just keep thinking about all this "stuff" that this packaging is made out of, (ahem, petroleum products if it's plastic) and how short of a lifespan they have.  We are literally throwing away our precious resources like crude oil (a resource that wars get started over) for a little bit of convenience.  I know some of it is necessary for sanitary reasons, but a lot of it can be avoided.

So, every time I go to the grocery store, I think about what I'm buying, what kinds of packaging are involved, whether that packaging can be recycled, and then thinking about whether I could do without the product or replicate the same thing at home.

One such thing that we've stopped buying all together are boxes of instant oatmeal.  Being a busy man on the go who would rather skip breakfast than prepare something himself, Shawn often looks to individually-wrapped instant oatmeal packages as a quick hot meal.  I get it, they're quick and better for you than a donut.  But man, that packaging...

So I've come up with a solution: I just make them at home.  I bought quick oats in bulk at Central Market and the flavor possibilities have become endless.  Once a week, I'll get 3 or 4 tupperwares, and fill them each with about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of instant oats, and a tablespoon of brown sugar.  That's the base.  From there I add fun combinations of cinnamon, craisins, dried cherries, slivered almonds, raisins, etc.  You could also add fresher stuff the day-of, but all the stuff I add is dried so the container can sit for a while if Shawn doesn't get around to eating it. 

What would YOU put in your oatmeal?
Ok, they take a little more time that just buying the packages, but they are really quick and easy and you can make multiples at a time.  To make them even cooler, these are completely whole, unprocessed foods which are even better for you than the flavored stuff at the store!  I think they're fun, and Shawn says they're yummy.  Win-win, folks.

And here's a fun picture.  We all compete for Shawn's affection, yet he just sleeps through the fight...

1 comment:

  1. Did you know that a few years back, Lays started to put Sun Chips in compostable bags? They soon after returned them to the normal only-throw-away-in-the-landfill-able kind because consumers complained that the new eco-friendly bags were too noisy.

    This bothers me just like Coca-Cola saying that the reason they don't have bottle deposits like they do in Europe is because the bottles would need to be made of thicker glass/plastic and they found that American consumers don't like the weight of those bottles.


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