July 30, 2010

Picking Through the Plastic

The amount of packaging here, for food products, is phenomenal. At our home, we go through an appalling amount of plastic wrap and plastic containers and foil and wrappers. We do recycle the containers by washing and reusing them, but there are so many other things we have no control over.

When I go to the grocery store, if I have bought any fresh food, I will emerge with between seven and ten plastic containers. Each one of these will be double-wrapped in plastic wrap. If the food is meat of some sort, then it will be on a styrofoam tray, wrapped in foil and then wrapped in plastic wrap. Muffins come in cupcake papers, in cardboard cupcake holders on top of styrofoam and wrapped in plastic wrap.

It's pretty awful.

And what made me think about this is actually cookies. There are some sugar wafers they sell here that I like. They appear to be made in Dubai, (the company is based in the UAE_ but imported from Lebanon. They also have English, and Spanish on the label. That kind of throws me -- the Spanish.

But perhaps their origin explains the packaging. They are sealed in a foil packet, and then put into a cardboard box. Then they are wrapped again in a foil-type wrapper. Because they are sugar wafers, they don't hold up well in the humidity. This is the only explanation I can think of.

Yet there is no question that everything here is over-packaged. Coming from a culture where it has been drilled into us to recycle and re-use, it's maddening to find the trash filled only with plastic and packaging. And it makes me feel guilty, because I know better.

But recycling is a long way off here. There are recycling bins in some places, and some neighborhoods claim to recycle. But anecdotal information tells us that the recyle trash bins go into the same truck with the regular trash. And if even if the municipality supported recylcling ... where would this happen? We have no recycling plants.

I still think there must be a better way. I have no idea what it is, though, so I do my part by re-using my plastic forks and washing my plastic containers. a

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Often, blue container recycling goes to the landfill, either because of mixed waste or other recycling problems. People just feel better here because they've put it in a blue can.