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The Plastic of Our Lives

Posted By Sara On May 4, 2007 @ 6:32 pm In Big Agra,Health,Marketing | 2 Comments

Grocery stores are strange places full of even stranger food packaging concepts. Here’s some food for thought edible substance for cerebration (pitifully-unsuccessful-avoidance-of-pun alert):

Have you noticed how plastic continues to pop up in all sorts of food packaging? We all know that plastic comes from a limited resource; producing, trashing and even recycling plastic all have unpleasant consequences. And when it comes to health, it’s questionable if we want things like thalates [7] in the same hemisphere as our food, let alone the same room.

Still, plastic persists: convenience remains the crowning virtue. (Although, in my opinion, the “convenience” of plastic packaging is still up for debate. This excessive layering is responsible for at least one post-gym “I need to eat!” meltdown per month by yours truly. Layering in fashion is one thing, but in food packaging? We don’t take food snowboarding with us, nor does food need to brave the indoor-outdoor urban trotting of a winter trip to the East Coast. Is this really necessary [8]?)

But, truthfully, I hadn’t given much thought to things like these little plastic cap switcheroos…

Until I learned that there’s a permanent Texas-sized carpet of debris lolly-gagging around the Pacific Ocean’s northern gyre. Just call it Patchwork Pacific [9].

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(These images are not to scale.)

This really bugs me. In light of our current health and environmental concerns, things like this new Kraft product are totally ridiculous!

I know we’re all working hard and we’re busy, but do we need to be throwing away millions of plastic shredders that come attached to our cheese? I actually liked shredding my parmesan with my own shredder – you know, one that you don’t throw away with each block of cheese. I’m not saying I counted it as a workout or anything, but is it that inconvenient to retain ownership of a shredder that’s not physically attached to my Manchego? Is the extra arm movement required to open the drawer really so exhausting that Kraft feels they’re doing us a favor? Was this a gaping void in the marketplace of which I was unaware?

What do you all think? Perhaps your editor is being too critical of “food” marketers (using-term-generously alert). Perhaps the days I skipped macroeconomics as a slacker college student are coming back to bite me after all these years. (Darn that Professor Carter!) Enlighten me, Kraft!

Until the next shopping adventure, friends…

(Psst: just before hitting “Publish” I ran a quick Google search and found this very sensible review from the Accidental Hedonist [10], so I’m relieved to find I’m not the only one who thinks this product is both asinine and wasteful.)


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[7] thalates: http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/rachellart.htm

[8] Is this really necessary: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/klever-kutter-impregnable-plastic-clamshell-packaging-meets-its-match-219011.php

[9] Patchwork Pacific: http://oceans.greenpeace.org/en/the-expedition/news/trashing-our-oceans/ocean_pollution_animation

[10] Accidental Hedonist: http://www.accidentalhedonist.com/index.php/2006/09/05/grate_it_fresh_a_review_in_pictures

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