Wednesday, October 10, 2012

entertaining Crow


When I brought Crow and his friend their afternoon tea I heard them discussing one of those irritations of modern life that drive me crazy too. Why is it that grocery stores announce with pride they have no plastic carry bags to hand out to customers but just about everything they sell is encased in layers of the stuff? Cosmetics, personal care items, toys, eggs, chocolates, produce, cookies, snack foods, tools and appliances are just a few items that create packaging discards we all deal with. A single purchase can mean bringing home more packaging than product.

Since 1960, the use and disposal of single-use plastic packaging has grown from 120,000 tons to over 12,720,000 tons per year today. It used to be the idea that packaging protected a product from damage but nowadays it's just another marketing tool to get us to buy things. Apparently the manufacturers think items packed in hard shelled, difficult (and possibly dangerous) to open plastic packages appear to be more attractive. Whatever happened to cellophane and cardboard? What makes plastic packaging worse is that it raises the cost of every item covered in the stuff by about 10% and then we have to find some way to recycle the stuff.

No wonder Crow prefers the comforts of the 19th century.

23 comments:

Rob-bear said...

Or you can go to the grocers and purchase things that are not packaged at all. Fresh produce on shelves, for example.

That aside, we are victims of overpackaging. I doubt the majority of us want it, but it is being thrust upon us. Sigh. The costs— particularly the environmental costs — are daunting.

Gina Duarte said...

Good point about the packaging. I grumble about it as well.

I went through a period of both nostalgic and environmental concern when it was first announced that the cardboard egg carton would no longer be recyclable, though it is (I believe) made from recycled material??? And the biggest disappointment came when Quaker Oats changed from their quintessential cardboard canister to a plastic one.

There are times when I want to fly with Crow, that's for sure. :-)

Randal Graves said...

Egads, imagine the packaging on a bottle of laudanum. Quite often, when The Kids buy calculators and such from the bookstore, they head over to us to borrow our scissors to remove the overpriced goodies from the plastic Fort Knox.

Anonymous said...

I also hate the plastic wrapping but think it would come in handy to wrap my husband and kids in and store them in the basement for future use.


----Nunly

marja-leena said...

Aye, aye! And remember those lovely old hardware stores with their open bins of every size nail and screw and thingamabob? If you wanted two nails or twenty, just count them into a paper bag. Now it's row upon row of little plastic packages that need another tool to open it with.

I wish we could move back into the time period Crow is enjoying in that gorgeous rendering, Susan!

Gina Duarte said...

I forgot to mention what an absolutely delightful drawing you shared with us. So many small and precise details. I love it!

susan said...

Unfortunately, it's not the fruit and veg that are the problem but all that other stuff as you say.

Ol'Buzzard said...

the wisdom of crows...unfortunately it doesn't carry over to humans. Plastic packaging is the norm now because of corporate profiteering. The shelf life of things wrapped in plastic is extended. You could not ship produce from California, Peru, Chili, South East Asia etc. without plastic packaging or freezing, and electronics coming from China arrives in better shape because of plastic protective packaging. If it didn't extend profits in some way it wouldn't be in use.

one of the things that bugs me is that Maine has a productive shrimp fishing industry but the local Hannaford Super Market sells shrimp from Thailand. And the list goes on of local meat, fruit and vegetables locally available that are replaced with shipped in products.

However, the reality is that Maine products are seasonal and if consumers demand out of season food stuff it has to come from somewhere other.

it is the nature of our time - we have to deal with it: and the younger generation will not be as aware of the difference - they will truly believe that macaroni and cheese is a microwave product.
the Ol'Buzzard

susan said...

The whole thing about what is truly recyclable is a lot more complicated than most people know. This is pretty interesting. All we can hope is that things do improve.

Crow remembers butcher paper and little glass bottles :-)

susan said...

I've considered removing the plastic after a purchase and leaving it at the store.

susan said...

I'm sure there's enough plastic wrapping to cover entire countries if you can think of any you'd like to preserve as they are.

susan said...

Oh I do remember those hardware stores and just how fascinating it was to explore them while my dad was putting nails in bags. We've had our own recent encounters with the hardware section of Canadian Tire but what you say is true everywhere.

Glad you liked the picture :-)

susan said...

It was fun getting back into drawing even though I wasn't sure where I was going with that one :-)

susan said...

You're so right, OB. I remember when we lived in BC that you couldn't buy local lumber for building since at the time it was all shipped elsewhere. We are a remarkably stupid species in the aggregate - even if not as individuals.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Plus it is harder to steal items wrapped in hard plastic Fort Knox I suppose. My recycling bin is overflowing with the discards of wrappings, that is for sure.

I love all the details you put have put into that drawing. Very lovely indeed!

Anonymous said...

Nope.....can't think of one country I would like to save as it is. Good thing I'm not God. Heh-heh.

Nunly

Lisa Golden said...

Oy, I get so tired of having to pry apart packaging. I like Nunly's idea of saving the packaging to use for "preservation" activities.

I am pleased to report that I did something that used no packaging at all. I pinned the above drawing on Pinterest which will bring a link back to here. I hope you don't mind and if you do, I'll remove the pin. But I wanted to share your delightful and detailed drawing.

linda said...

hello:)
I have risen from the almost- dead! at least for now... I love this drawing and am always amazed at them, wondering if you use a ruler and compass or protractor etc! and such dandies are they, especially!

I'm on pad so this is short but have you opened an amazon box lately? sheesh... and I went looking for one of those little brown paper bags in a groc recently and nothing! I complained. we all should be complaining and if possible, only by local! geez, save a farm- er....

hate the stuff and seem to fill up my recycle bin so much faster than the other...and I AM trying NOT to.....sigh.

good points all! xxx

linda said...

that should read BUY....stupid pad!

susan said...

More and more often it seems as though things are wrong with the system all the way down the line.

Delighted you like it.

susan said...

I still think leaving all the packaging behind at the store once you've paid would be a good idea.

Happy to hear you liked it enough to Pint it.

susan said...

I'm delighted to see you've returned and hope things are going a bit better now.

When I first block out major elements I use a straight edge but then I do as much as I can by dead reckoning because that way the pictures seem more organic.

Yeah, we wind up with lots more packaging garbage than anything else too. It's disturbing.

Hattie said...
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