What's with all the packaging????!!!!! (Vent) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 04-20-2005, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I've started shopping at Trader Joe's, because I can get organics more cheaply there than I can at Whole Foods or my local grocery store that has an organics section. Overall, it's great. But I have a beef with them: WHY ARE THEIR PRODUCTS SO OVERPACKAGED?

For example, I bought frozen veggie breakfast patties. They come in a cardboard box. The box is wrapped with cellophane. When you get the cellophane off, you can open the box. When you open the box, you find that the patties are all in a plastic ziploc bag!!! Why didn't they just print all the necessary info on the ziploc bag and leave it at that? Why do I have to have all this extra packaging to dispose of?

Just venting, I guess, but I really don't understand why I need to fight my way through three layers of trash and then dispose of it all just to feed my child a breakfast patty. Same thing with CDs/DVDs, most cosmetic products, and childrens' toys. Argh!
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#2 of 23 Old 04-20-2005, 09:30 PM
 
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Drives me crazy.

I also wish more organics would come in bulks or *at least* family size.

DS *loves* Nancy's raspberry yogurt. But I feel so guilty buying. For eight ounces of yogurt there is the yogurt carton, then the smaller carton that holds the fruit. So, two cartons and a lid each time he wants yogurt!?!?!

 

 

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#3 of 23 Old 04-20-2005, 10:15 PM
 
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ITA!! I really hate all the extra stuff. I just don't get it. You would think the manufacturers would want to use less packaging because it would be less expensive for them.

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#4 of 23 Old 04-21-2005, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2
Drives me crazy.

I also wish more organics would come in bulks or *at least* family size.

DS *loves* Nancy's raspberry yogurt. But I feel so guilty buying. For eight ounces of yogurt there is the yogurt carton, then the smaller carton that holds the fruit. So, two cartons and a lid each time he wants yogurt!?!?!
Trader Joes sells plain organic yogurt in large-ish tubs, and I have seen Stonyfield Farms strawberry yogurt in the same size (32 oz.?) at a lot of regular grocery stores as well as Whole Foods.

Just FYI.

But yeah, it's hard to find most organics in big enough sizes to feed your family for a week. I end up shopping two or three times a week.
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#5 of 23 Old 04-21-2005, 08:43 PM
 
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I think the key to less packaging is to change the kinds of things you buy.

For example, we only buy the yogurts that come in the 32oz tubs.

I don't buy ready-made breakfast patties, or veggie burgers, or even canned beans. I buy dried beans that come in a plastic bag, and cook them myself. I don't buy any packaged "rice mixes" or boxed macaroni and cheese. I buy the basic ingredients and do a lot of cooking from scratch.

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#6 of 23 Old 04-21-2005, 08:48 PM
 
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I totally agree. I like the convenience of some packaged foods and the prices at trader joes but wish there was less packaging.
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#7 of 23 Old 04-21-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneymoonBaby
Trader Joes sells plain organic yogurt in large-ish tubs, and I have seen Stonyfield Farms strawberry yogurt in the same size (32 oz.?) at a lot of regular grocery stores as well as Whole Foods.

Just FYI.

But yeah, it's hard to find most organics in big enough sizes to feed your family for a week. I end up shopping two or three times a week.
For DD I usually get the Stonyfield Farms strawberry (or the banilla) yogurt in the big tubs. Much cheaper too (like a big tub for the price of three individuals). DS just has this love affair going w/Nancy's yogurt--- the kind that comes with a small tub of plain yogurt with fruit & honey to stir in. He only gets it for treats because of the waste of packaging, now, though.

 

 

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#8 of 23 Old 04-22-2005, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla
I think the key to less packaging is to change the kinds of things you buy.

For example, we only buy the yogurts that come in the 32oz tubs.

I don't buy ready-made breakfast patties, or veggie burgers, or even canned beans. I buy dried beans that come in a plastic bag, and cook them myself. I don't buy any packaged "rice mixes" or boxed macaroni and cheese. I buy the basic ingredients and do a lot of cooking from scratch.
Obviously one way to avoid packaging is to buy all raw, unprocessed food and make everything from scratch. But not everyone has or is willing to make the time to do that, myself included. I like the convenience of being able to cook DS a quick and relatively healthy meal on days when we're "on-the-go." But I don't understand why everything has three times the packaging it actually needs. As a PP said, you'd think they'd WANT to save money on packaging!
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#9 of 23 Old 04-26-2005, 10:43 AM
 
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Good point honeymoonbaby... of course it's the ideal to make everything from scratch, but mostly not always possible or desired.
You guys should write to the companies that irk you about this. Esp. ones at natural food stores (you could surely use the argument of shopping at alternative stores to try and make a difference in the world, etc.) At least they'd know that not everyone appreciates all the trash they generate.

Another thought on the yoghurt, is to buy the huge tub (we do the Nancy's huge tub, can't remember the size, but I think it's bigger than 32 oz.) or make your own, and then add rasberry jam/jelly. We have chokecherry yoghurt all the time with homemade chokecherry jam

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#10 of 23 Old 04-28-2005, 12:24 AM
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I have heard for months how great Trader joes is and finally went there last weeken.d I bought next to nothing because all the produce was prepackaged. I will not be going back. What a shameful waste.
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#11 of 23 Old 04-28-2005, 04:52 AM
 
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My great aunt take all excess packaging off at the checkout. The cashiers never really know what to do with this crazy old women stripping the cellophane from her groceries & telling them about landfill sites :LOL
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#12 of 23 Old 04-29-2005, 04:21 PM
 
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What a great idea your aunt has, I will have to start doing that!

What also bugs me at TJs is that they clamshell most of the produce. In our area the clamshells aren't recyclable. It makes no sense to me - for example, the artichokes were all prepacked - can't look them over well, can't pick how many you actually want, and what to do with that stupid box?
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#13 of 23 Old 05-01-2005, 08:58 PM
 
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Ok, this isn't about food packaging, but it is my favorite excess packaging story.
My dh buys his drum sicks in bulk through the mail. Last time he bought 20 sets. They came all tied together in a bundle (about 15 ins long by 10' in diameter). That bundle was put in a box and they had paper padding all around them( box was about.20 in by 20 in) That box was placed in a huge (36 in by 36 in) box filled with packing peanuts.
These were drum sticks. Things meant to be beat and pounded repeatedly. We wrote to the company and told them what we thought. They did improve a little the next time and left out the last box.

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#14 of 23 Old 05-02-2005, 03:27 PM
 
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ITA!!!

But, I am also extremely jealous of you guys that have Trader Joes.... I got used to them in CA and now I am suffering in SC!
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#15 of 23 Old 05-03-2005, 02:09 PM
 
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I am SO loving the picture of unwrapping everything at the checkout. :LOL I can totally see myself doing that. My biggest beef is this: if I go to the store for a handful of items, i come home with two bags worth. I have to take two trips to get child + groceries out of the car. Forget about walking because everything is in such large packages.


And I wanted to add in my own little tipfrom an overworked student mom who's trying to save every last darn penny (me that is):

I have about 40 of those little plastic snack containers for baby food (i know some people don't like plastic, insert your own container ) anyhow. When I come home from the store I make up snack sized containers -- big bag of raisins quickly becomes 10 little cups of raisins. I find that my kid LOVES her own snack sized thing. So the yogurt ones I just say "go in the fridge and get yourself a yogurt." She loves to pick it out and get it out by herself. On mixing the fruit/nuts/whatever into yogurt -- you'd use two -- one for yogurt and one for the snacky stuff.

It's a lot of work up front and a lot of washing, but it saves spending extra cash and I find myself reaching for the snacky things on the way someplace rather than stopping along the way for food.



And my final thought -whew I have lots to say --
when you send your letter to trader joes or whomever, send it on the inside of the packaging -- cut the box open and write on it. Then put it into an envelope and mail it off.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#16 of 23 Old 05-06-2005, 05:22 PM
 
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I just got something from amazon. It was a big box, I could have put Nitara to bed in it. Inside was a long string of that sausage-air-filler stuff, and at the bottom were two very thin paperback books for Abi, and 2 CD's.

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#17 of 23 Old 05-06-2005, 09:33 PM
 
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Yep I agree! Its everywhere!!
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#18 of 23 Old 05-10-2005, 08:34 PM
 
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At least it could be worse than that air-filler stuff. I hate "popcorn" with a passion!

I like the convenience of prepackaged foods too, but it's just a fact of life that the more conveniently prepared the food is the more packaging waste there's gona be (and the more you'll pay for the stuff!). For those reasons, and also because Ds and I have food sensitivities that rule out most convenience foods, I make large batches of certain things when I have the time and then I freeze them or whatever in single servings. Or I'll make double of what I'm cooking for dinner and freeze half of it in single servings. It really doesn't add much work or time, especialy considering the work and time it saves later, and it solves the packaging problem.
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#19 of 23 Old 05-11-2005, 01:43 AM
 
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Bulk bins are my friend. At Sunflower Market near me, I can get organic coffee for five dollars a pound, a flake/powder mix that you can add water to to make some yummy vegetarian burger patties, flours, cereal, etc. They give you a discount for bringing back bags for re-use or bringing canvas grocery bags of your own (which are plentiful at Goodwill).

I also buy yogurt in the big tubs. I'll occasionally splurge on one of the fake-meat convenience items, but the smaller servings aren't a big deal because it's just DD and I eating it. And some things, because it's just the two of us, I actually preferr in smaller packaging--like I can get the smaller things of tofu at TJ's that come w/ the usual amount divided into 2 separately sealed trays. That way I don't have to stress over using an unused portion on another meal w/in a day or two.

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#20 of 23 Old 05-17-2005, 02:25 AM
 
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At my work, we keep all boxes that are shipped to the company. We've also got a big box for packing peanuts and a filler thingy. We try to reuse whatever boxes are available when shipping and reuse the peanuts. I have sent a single book in a big box with lots of packing peanuts, because it was less wasteful than using a new envelope.

Mind you, that doesn't excuse the Trader Joe's packaging situation, but it might explain the Amazon.com delivery. Especially if the books came from a smaller seller on Amazon.
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#21 of 23 Old 05-18-2005, 05:11 PM
 
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Thank you for bringing this up!!!!

Overpackaging is so anonying!

I read in a book called "Paper or Plastic?" about this issue that packaging material makes up 1/3 of the solid waste in landfills. And that doesn't even reflect the total impact, since there are "upstream" costs--crude oil to make plastic, trees felled to make paper, etc. Yikes! :

Anyway, I try to buy things in thin bags instead of boxes, and rely on bulk foods.

Great idea about writing the companies and grocery stores. I'd be too chicken to unwrap things at the register, though. :

ETA: I just emailed Amy's Kitchen about their overpackaging. Hope someone's listening!
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#22 of 23 Old 05-18-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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Trader Joe's is very open to customer suggestions. I think it would be a VERY good idea for all of us to write to them about their excessive packaging, because otherwise they really strive to be the best they can for their customers.

Here is a link to contact them:

http://www.traderjoes.com/contact.asp

I love TJs and continue to shop there, and I, too, am mortified at all of the excess packagine. I mean, I understand the need for freshness, but there must be something we can do about that. Excess cellophane on he outside? Can just be done away with. And their produce, you're right, I so wish they would just sell it in bins like everywhere else. Seems like it might save them money, as well, not having to prepackage everything.
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#23 of 23 Old 06-02-2005, 02:19 PM
 
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I am so glad to read this thread! The excessive TJ's packaging drives me nuts! I have a guess as to why they package the produce the way that they do. I imagine the Trader Joes truck comes to the store with all the fruit already packaged up. That means nobody at the store is physically touching the fruit - employee or customer. Is it possible that they don't have to worry about certain health codes and permits because of this, and thats why they do it? Either way its annoying.

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