Tuesday, 29 September 2009


I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how much over-packaging there is in the world. At Bron’s barbecue at the beginning of August, one friend turned up with a big pack of beer – something like 24 cans all in one box. Sounds great – after all, buying in bulk is usually better because it cuts down on packaging, and thus on rubbish, in the long run. But what really threw me was the fact that this perfectly adequate cardboard box was wrapped in plastic. Why? It just seems so completely unnecessary – what purpose does it really serve when the cardboard box alone does everything you need it to, i.e. hold all the cans together. And the more I think about it, the more I see it going on.

At this point in time I should probably admit to falling off the plastic wagon with our shopping again yesterday. Baked beans were the main culprit this time. This time, rather than the peer pressure of the cheese, it came down to economics. A single tin of Heinz baked beans costs 65p. Or I could buy two packs of four tins for £3. The math is obvious: 8 tins at 65p each comes to £5.20. Of course, the tins in each pack are kept together by plastic wrapping.

Again, there was the umming and ahhing, the dilly-dallying, but the money side won out. As someone who lives on quite a small budget, it was probably inevitable, but I do feel annoyed about it. What annoys me most – other than the fact that I let the special offer win out over my plastic challenge – is the fact that it’s perfectly feasible to pack the tins together in paper rather than plastic. Companies do it often enough with tomatoes, with beer, why not baked beans?

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