Fits this thread - The Order of Things - so I’m gonna tack this on here rather than go anew…
I recently had to read a book to my kids at bedtime called “Pancakes, Pancakes!” by Eric Carle (you know - writer of the Hungry Caterpillar).
It is about a boy who wakes up in the mood for pancakes - except by the looks he’s living at the turn of the 20th century. In order to make the lovely breakfast, he has to reap some wheat, thresh it, have it ground into flower, milk the cow, harass the chooks for an egg, and go down to the cellar to get some jam. (So the poor boy is likely having pancakes for lunch, rather than breakfast.)
Thankfully these days, when I want to make pancakes for the rugrats, all I need to do is go to the supermarket and buy a plastic bag/bottle full of pre-prepared pancake mix, a plastic bottle full of milk, and a cardboard box containing eggs. If I was clever, I told the kids what day I was making the pancakes (Sunday works well), and had most of the items sitting in my magic cold box, which is made out of metals, plastics, and a few gasses.
Except… oh, wait - plastic has found its way into the Mariana freak’n Trench! Oh, and - according to recent research - our own digestive systems, too! (As if polluting the deepest part of the ocean wasn’t bad enough - now, it’s personal.)
All good - we just need to join the “Nude Food” movement. Stop buying everything in plastic. Can’t be that hard, right?
(Side Note - my boss declared that she has “a license to print money” thanks to the nude food for school kids movement, after she discovered how popular the “bento box” has become. Over 50,000 units sold per year, with sales only continuing to increase. She happily continues to buy massive rolls of bubble-wrap however, rather than invest $6k in a machine that would allow her to recycle cardboard into a bubble-wrap alternative…)
But… Whilst it was all good and well for my grandparents to make most of their meals from scratch (they had a large veggie patch, and chooks in their large back yard), our modern standard of living tends to dictate that 1 wage per household is not enough. My grandmother was far from “just a housewife” (though when I think of her, typically she was wearing an apron, in the kitchen), but the roles she took on typically were not paid, and she did spend a lot of time in the kitchen making food… That’s a “luxury” that my wife and I can’t afford if we also want a house to live in with heating and cooling, a safe & reliable car (and one not so safe nor reliable vehicle), 2 iPhones, 3 iPads, and shoes that don’t fall apart within a 10 week school term.
As dictated by Victorian legislature (and other jurisdictions Australia wide), we have recently changed from single-use plastic bags to more durable “multi use” bags for shopping, but also in our house - purchased our own reusable bags for the fresh fruit-n-veg we buy at Woolies (as apparently the legislation still allows Woolies/etc to continue with single-use plastic bags in that department). We also now separate “soft plastics” that our council can’t recycle, and return them to the “Redcycle” collection bins, rather than going to landfill. But this is exactly what has sparked all of the above…
Every week we would easily fill at least 1 bag full of “soft plastic”. Kids snack packets, meat tray seals, pasta packaging, lolly wrappers - it doesn’t stop. And whilst they are now being recycled into things like plastic seats, how long will it be before that industry too suffers the plight of the wider recycling industry - where they are unable to keep up with supply, nor find markets to sell their processed resources?
(And, on another quick side note - Don’t recycle your cash-register receipts. Most of them these days are BPA plastic impregnated, so you will contaminate the recycled paper. Also, don’t compost them, or you’ll have BPA in your compost. Also don’t burn them - the BPA goes airborne. Landfill is the “safest” option… At least then it’s just another toxin in an already toxic, semi-contained area.)
This brings us back to Nude Food… buying food that is not wrapped in plastic. But in many cases these options are either more expensive, or more time-costly. So we are left to choose between our comfort of living, and having time to do what we want (rather than spending the morning preparing pancakes), versus saving the very planet on which we live.
And it’s taken a 16 year old Swedish girl to painfully point this obvious conundrum out.
Where do we go from here? There’s going to have to be a massive change to the order of things…