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Friday, September 17, 2010

Remember Cellophane?

This very tasty tea is from Mighty Leaf. I looked at the packets when I pulled them out of the box and was dismayed to see, as I have observed before, that the teabag was individually wrapped. However, I read the box and it said that the teabag itself was biodegradable (YAY!), and that the clear packet was made of cellophane.

Plastic is wonderful for certain applications where breakage is a concern, as in shampoo bottles, but in packaging it has become the bane of our existence. Overpackaging is endemic, because of concerns over theft, and it takes a reciprocal saw to get into some packages these days. Seems absurd, but it is probably part of the "have fewer employees in the store" sort of cost savings. Fewer employees means more packaging, and we pay for all packaging when we buy the items.

In my view, it would make more sense to have less packaging (picture the old hardware store with the friendly dude who knew just where the 5/8" wood screws were in their bin, lying around loose, not packaged so you have to buy 4 of them at a time). If there were more employees there would be less theft, and if there were less packaging, the product would cost less for the consumer. I believe these things appear to be changing, albeit ever so slowly.

Secondary rant: Constant growth, a pillar of capitalism, is impossible in a finite world. It is a stupid and shortsighted philosophy. Where there is expansion, there must be contraction. We need to contract, folks. The earth cannot support an ever-growing population forever.

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