Naturally Plastic Food

Union Carbide Ad 1946 Plastics for food preservation

What science didn't know then was that plastic coatings in food containers enter the bloodstream, and has been linked to cancer.

Think: In 1948, manufacturing companies had no idea about the possible long-term effects of their plastics on human health or waterways and ecosystems. In 2011, manufacturing companies DO know the long-term health, social and environmental impacts of their products, yet they still produce them, to great profit.  What do you think about this ad that calls food encased in plastic and soaked in nitrogen “natural”?

Feel: Advertising plays on our emotions, putting us in the right frame of mind to accept their messages, even when we disbelieve. How do you feel about the fact that known harmful substances are still manufactured, traded, sold and bought, sometimes with government subsidies and tax breaks?

Grow: Knowing what we know scientifically and anecdotally about the harmful effects of plastics and synthetic chemicals in our food, what new opportunities for food packaging and processing can we make for ourselves. What are our avenues for growth that would stimulate profound change?

Did you know? Consumer choices matter, but the quantity of what’s produced far out-paces what we can possibly purchase and consume. The primary responsibility is with the manufacturer. Don’t be fooled, even when you buy the recyclable products, not every state / county / city can process every single type of recyclable item you dispose of. Just because it is recyclable does NOT mean that it WILL be recycled. The treadmill of production just continues to create things to sell to us. It’s up to us to demand that the mill stop producing so much STUFF!

Want to learn more? Read Ken Gould’s book The Treadmill of Production.

Book: Treadmill o0f Production by Kenneth A. Gould, David N. Pellow and Allan Schnaiberg

A quick, informative, well-researched read by Ken Gould and friends. I've studied with Ken and can vouch for the caliber of information int he book.


Paper, Plastic or Something Else?


Paper or plastic, Mr. President?

Paper or plastic, Mr. President?


Deat Thinkers:

A friend brought this website to my attention (in an email) asking for feedback on the ongoing Paper vs. Plastic bag debate. The website cites many reasons why plastic outstrips paper bags. While I remain unconvinced that plastic is THE definitive choice, I appreciate some of the information presented on the website, as well as the transparency of author’s rationale and personal experience which shaped his point of view. I have included my initial thoughts below.  What do YOU think…Paper, Plastic or Other? Please read my entire response below:

While I didn’t verify the truth claims found on this website, some initial thoughts do come through

  • We should be composting, Throwing perishable waste into non-perishable plastic bags is just as bad as uying bottled water. The container life far outstrips the product viability.
  • In addition to recycling bags and selling green bags, grocers should be the place where city dwellers can take food ends for redistribution and composting.
  • We should all be using reusable, rewashable sturdy shopping bags. Many of us have tote bags (or can buy them from the Salvation Army or Goodwill) if buying the designer “green bags” is not feasible.
  • It’s good to know about the roach concern with paper bags; Roach infestations are a real concern for many people, though it is not discussed. (secret weapon: Borax! It will kill roaches and deter new ones from entering while refreshing the air in your home.
  • wouldn’t it be great if indeed we found it to be true that plastic bags don’t come from oil, nor are they the main pollutants in our waterways (again, I have not verified these truth claims)
  • MegaStores like Whole Foods charge customers up to 10 cents for bags, but they may actually just be profiting form this debate, charging consumers premium price for bulk bag purchases which likey cost a fraction of a cent in bulk!
  • Point of  fact, plastic bags do rip. They have grown increasingly thin over the past 20 years, so we see grocers double bagging our groceries. If they were as sturdy as the website claims, this would not be the case. I suggest they make the bags thicker again assuming all the other claims are true
  • There needs to be a market for more products which source recycled plastic bags as raw materials (in addition to the composite lumber etc). What other plastic items can be replaced with this materialAll in all, the key lay in our continued search for workable solutions which will likely me a mosaic rather than a one-dimensional dogmatic conceptualization and approach. Viable solutions are not necessarily diametrically opposed or mutually exclusive, so the best way may lay within the unexplored middle ground between the two options.

Let me know what you think? It touches us all, so participate if you are able and willing to do so!