Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2) Twice the Plastic for Twice the Freshness... and Garbage

Remember when buying lunch meat meant going to the butcher counter, pointing to your slab o' meat of choice, and receiving a package neatly wrapped in butcher paper? And you made sure to eat it before it had a chance to go bad, because otherwise that was a waste of money. And even when it might have started to go a little south, no worries, just fry it up! Not so now. We don't have time for those kinds of shenanigans. Nope... we need our lunch meats in pre-packaged plastic containers and if we don't eat it in time, just throw it away.

What price do we pay for convenience? In my weekly coupon search, I noticed Hillshire Farms is touting that their lunch meat is "Sealed Twice for Fresh Taste." Well, that sounds great, right? I have to wonder how many people buy that product and actually re-use the container. Those actually ARE containers that can be re-used many times. That would at least be something positive. I'm not sure that happens much, though. But on top of that, the product is sealed in an inner pouch. There's nothing to do with that except throw it away. There's not a lot of meat in these packages. How much are we buying in new containers and sealed pouches? Again, we wouldn't want it going bad before we had a chance to eat it all. And sealing it so much is actually a way to trick people into thinking it doesn't have all the crap in it that it really has. "Hmm, look at all that sealing, must mean it is so fresh and wonderful that it has to be extra-protected. It MUST be good for us!"

Uh-uh. Now, I'm not advocating to not eat meat. I still eat it. I'm just saying watch the packaging. If you can avoid products like this (and you can), then you should. We don't need to put all this extra plastic into the world. Send a message to these companies that we neither expect nor want this kind of excess garbage in the environment. It's staggering to think of how many of these are sold in just one day... let's make it a little bit less.

Oh, and go visit your butchers' counter. There's pretty good stuff there, and they might be lonely. Who knows? You might actually have a real conversation. I know. It's scary. Try it anyway.