Cross-posting from my latest entry on Earth Hearth in a lame attempt to appear as if I actually have the brain cells and energy to update this blog. Sigh.
Oh, and by the way: my girls are doing fabulous. Indi is trying to crawl, eating Cheerios, pointing to “eyes” on toys and humans, and doing great with gently-introduced Elimination Communication. Kaia is making up songs, experiencing the joys of interacting with her baby sister, enthralled with Polly Pocket, and loving the digging and playing outdoors in this gorgeous weather.
Back to my post…
Anxious to try a new product for my baby, I tore into the glossy, cardboard box of rice rusks. Then I noticed I had to rip through a plastic inner packaging. Finally, I paused in head-tilting questioning as I realized that the rice rusks were wrapped yet again in individual packets.
Three layers of packaging for one product.
From boxes of diapers to ink cartridges, over-packaging is everywhere. Over-priced, over-transported, over-branded, and over-packaged. This world of extremes – of marketing “noise” – has my brain, and my wallet, begging for simplification.
Some countries are working to enact laws that would penalize offenders of over packaging. Perhaps we should make consumers responsible as well, adding a surcharge for over packaged items and foods or a discount for products purchased in bulk. Since my awareness has been raised, I’ve been more cognizant of product packaging and now notice it in abundance. Which is perhaps why a granny smith apple nestled in the palm of my hand feels so good while I stroll through grocery store aisles.
And while we are on the subject of “over-(fill in the blank)”, the over abundance of selections in products speaks to our culture’s alarming indulgence and love affair with the illusion of “choices” and “convenience”. We like to believe there is a product out there created to fulfill our own, very specific needs. We are obsessed with “individual servings” (yogurt, string cheese, crackers, raisins) which only add to the over packaging dilemma and continual piles of waste. Personally, I want nothing more than to be underwhelmed at this point, only being offered the following choices: “works well” or “totally disposable” and “good for your body” or “simply convenient”.
Never have I been so nostalgic for the few-aisled, family owned grocery stores of my youth. I recall the bulk bins of candy and nuts, which always offered the unspoken suggestion to “sample”. These were the stores which provided only a handful of options for each food item as opposed to dozens. Our parents didn’t have to stare blankly at products and decide which version they wanted: “low fat, low sodium, low sugar, low calorie, preservative-free, organic, free range, hormone-free, multi-colored, zesty, mild, sharp, +vitamins, bite-sized, on-the-go, frozen, individual servings, kid-sized, portion control, family-sized, caffeine-free, enriched, whipped, fortified, cage free, live-active cultures, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, zero trans fats, refined, unrefined, raw, pure, INJECTED INTO VEINS SINCE IT’S TASTELESS”.
Food has become bland substance instead of hearty sustenance, something to be quickly ingested instead of slowly experienced. I have fallen prey too many times to the fancy trappings of packaging and touted ease.
Which is why the Twinkie indeed deserves some sort of shout out for showing its true colors among the wannabe “health foods”. A Twinkie is plain and simple crap food. Delicious, terrible for your body, crap food. But it doesn’t try to masquerade as “better for you” by offering any version other than high fat, refined, creamy, full-on sugary goodness that most of us have come to crave and devour on road-trip pit stops (though I much prefer Chocodiles).
So amidst fighting off Twinkie cravings, these have been the topics on my mind as of late: the industry of packaging and of nourishment.
Here are links to a few ideas about what you can do to avoid over packaging, as well as a link to more information on over packaging and photos of worst offenders. Please share your ideas or experiences with this topic with me.