Saturday, August 16, 2008

Avoid Individually-packaged Products

Individual packages are all the craze these days. Hello, 100-calorie packs, fruit snacks, oatmeal packets, mini-bags of pretzels, ice cream cups, ketchup, sugar, etc.? I've even seen cute little packets of peanut butter and saran-wrapped microwavable potatoes.

Of course, these little packages of joy are very convenient and portion-controlled. However, they do take a toll on the environment and on your wallet.

More plastic and other materials are needed to create the excess packaging. Because of this, more oil is used to create the plastic, and more fossil fuels/energy is used for the production. Also, ultimately more trash ends up in our landfills and sidewalks. These items also cost a lot more per unit. For example, a large bag of Cheetos is cheaper than a pack of several smaller bags.

In the end, I believe that portion-controlled packaging actually encourages an unhealthy lifestyle. Why, you ask? Well, most of these goods are processed and relatively nutrient-poor. However, because of the portion control, people believe that they are eating healthy.

Steer clear of these convenience foods! If you need portion control, buy a larger bag and divide it up yourself. You can reuse your own little plastic baggies and save some money. It's the lesser of two evils. However, the best thing for the environment would be to avoid most processed and packaged foods and eat naturally and locally.

This image is from ABC News.

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