3 days ago
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Being a green shopper these days means more than buying organic food or biodegradable household products. You also need to take account the type of packaging the item comes in. With landfills overflowing, and many materials not easily recycable, it's important to buy items with the least amount of packaging possible.
Take these three differently packaged versions of Philadelphia brand Cream Cheese. My boys suddenly love bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, so I wanted to buy it in bulk at Costco.
I would have loved to buy the convienent, single-serve pouches--I wouldn't have to dirty up a knife every morning--but look at all that plastic and foil that will be thrown in my garbage. Pictures of overflowing landfills would haunt me every morning if I bought that.Then I considered the 3-lb plastic tub and the 3-lb slab of cream cheese packaged in foil and cardboard. I weighed the pros and cons of the tub--the cream cheese will stay fresher in the tub than in the foil. After a few uses, the foil gets all mucky with dried out cream cheese. But plastic tub isn't easy to recycle--you may be able to recycle the bottom part of the tub, but not the lid. Plus I no longer want to keep plastic containers for food storage, since it degrades over time in the dish washer.
So after standing in front of the cream cheese display for at least five minutes, it hit me. I'll get the cardboard packaged cream cheese, and divide it up into pint-size mason jars. That way I can put two of the jars in the freezer and pull them out when needed. I have to say, the system has worked well. Freezing the cream cheese makes it a little crumbly once it's defrosted, but it tastes fine. The only packaging I'm throwing away is a piece of metal foil, since the card board can be recycled.
So my Thrifty Green Thursday tip is to try to buy items that have as little packaging as possible. For more tips, click here.