Overpackaged Oh No!
Plastic and shrink-wrap and Styrofoam, oh my! When you go to the grocery store do you regularly encounter products that are practically drowning in packaging? Foods begging to be freed from their clamshell containers?
Weve packaged ourselves into a corner -- product packaging often has a shelf life thats much longer than the product itself. Packaging distances the consumer from the product (how do you know what those grapes are really like if you cant touch them?) and - shock! -- creates millions of tons of waste.
How can you fight the powers that package? Be aware about the products you buy. Purchase items in bulk and create individual portions yourself. And when possible, ask for items sans bag or box. Yes, its really that easy.
Weve compiled some of the absolute worst offenders below. Are we missing something? Tell us in the comments!
No surprise here -- some of the most overpackaged cheeses also happen to be some of the most processed.
Are bite-sized niblets of individually wrapped cheese really necessary? Instead, cut up fresh cheeses on your own!
Raisins and Prunes
Raisins are often sold in individual snack-size boxes. To get the same effect, purchase a large box of raisins and apportion them daily in a snack-size reusable container.
Even worse -- these Sunsweet prunes are unnecessarily individually wrapped and packaged in a plastic tube.
Shockingly, some of the most egregious packaging wasters are organic and healthy lines, which attempt to woo consumers with "convenient" individual serving sizes.
Single Portion Packages
Supermarket shelves are stocked with wasteful individually portioned items, which require tons of extra plastic and packaging. Are we really too lazy to scoop out a single serving of rice ourselves?
Instead -- buy a large version of the item and make your own snack-size version using a reusable container. And again, buy in bulk whenever possible.
One of our strangest finds -- individually packed cups of pickle chips. Why?
Lunch FoodsA lot of packaging goes into producing foods that are convenient for consumers -- items made for eating on the go. The Lunchables snack pack includes six individually wrapped (and highly processed) items. And the Marie Callender's dish (pictured, right) even comes with its own incredibly wasteful disposable colander.
For a healthier, cheaper and less wasteful meal, try making your lunch ahead of time. Check out these great lunch ideas in The Daily Green's recipe archive.