Pet Peeves? Packagung waste is one of mine

sushipup1

How about a cooking/food related thread of pet peeves? (I must be in a grouchy mood this am.)

One of mine is wasteful packaging. Not as in too much packaging, but rather packaging that leads to product waste. Those upside down kitchen bottles, for example. Yesterday I noted that there's probably /1/3 cup of ketchup still in the bottle, but I had to unscrew the top and try to dig out enough for my sandwich. And because of the angle of the bottle, I'd never be able to use it all. Sells more ketchup, right?

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sushipup1

(Full disclosure: I'm the one who drains every drop of shampoo/Cetaphil/etc into the new bottle. Throwing away slivers of bath soap irks me.)

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beesneeds

I'm not sure it's wasteful packaging, just not emptying the packaging completely.


I have a set of caps that can attach to almost any bottle and have matching stands to allow any bottle to empty upside down. For bottles and jars that aren't suitable for that, I have a couple silicone last drop spatulas to get all of whatever out.

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sushipup1

I do the upside-down trick as well. But the 'shoulders' of the ketchup bottle make it really hard to scoop or scrape out. The packaging causes product waste.

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olychick

I have to say that Packagung is a very interesting word...did you make that up or did spell check/ auto correct choose it, lol?

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cloudy_christine

Pull-tabs on cans! How many people really want to crack open a can of beans to enjoy with their beer at a tailgate? I have a tool for opening tabs but I can't always make it work. I hate needing my husband to open cans. I've heard that companies do this because people don't own can openers any more! Really?

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sushipup1

olychick, it's fat fingers all the way. Wish I could edit it!

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plllog

Hm.... Reformed ketchup fiend here. I can always get every drop out of a Heinz bottle, but I’m patient. It only comes with gravity and a good smack, and the last tablespoon or so, with the cap off. Same with the old glass bottles. My mother wasn’t patient—she’d save the ends of ketchup bottles, and when she wanted a little for cooking, she’d shake it up with some wine or whatever else she was putting in the dish and get it all that way. There are special little scrapers for the impatient...

My current peeve is a silly one with no solution. I’ve been getting almost all of my produce in organic farm boxes for nearly half a year. It's excellent quality, customizable, and reliable. But except for the few items sold by weight, there’s no knowing what size you’re getting. Sometimes petite, sometimes giant. I know that’s the way it grows, and straight out of the ground, they have all sizes to send. When they're truly miniature, they send enough to make up the size of a normal one. I understand. It's crops. It's not a complaint; it’s a peeve. I’ve learned not to plan so much, and figure out specifics once I see what I get. :)

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Plastic wrap cutter strips. I have regular plastic wrap that has the slider cutter that works pretty well, but I also use the heavier-grade kind that stretches and seals. Wonderful stuff - if you can get a piece off. And this is their "new and improved" cutter?!?!?

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annie1992

sushipup, I agree on those "upside down" bottles. Right now I have one of mayo and one of grape jelly, it's hard to even get the jelly to come out at all, it's too thick. I bought them for summer picnics for the kids, thinking it would be less messy than the traditional bottles and knives. I was wrong, plus it's wasteful. Ugh.

Plllog, Grandma used to do the same thing with the catsup bottles, a little water and shake it up, dump it into the chili pot or whatever. She never wasted a drop of anything!

Annie

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Islay Corbel

Too much packaging generally. I don't know how it is with you, but here, too many things are in enormous plastic bubbles.....all for the convenience of the supermarkets.

BUT my worst bugbear are those anti theft tags on clothes that you have to cut off before you wear them or you set off the alarms in shops. Often you risk damaging a garment cutting them off as they're so close to a seam.......shops should remove them. Grrrrrr

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amylou321

Packing peanuts. I loathe packing peanuts. They smell weird. They get everywhere. I hate the squeaky sound they make. They are pain to deal with. One of the companies I source my candle supplies from uses packing peanuts. I cannot unpack anything from the boxes without scattering those stupid things all over the floor. And it is such an annoyance to have to get rid of all those stupid buggers before i can break the box down,and in the process getting the things all over the place. I can fill up a huge trash bag from one order. Such a waste. A different company I use uses paper to pad the boxes of jars I buy and it works perfectly. And its easy to deal with. We reuse the huge pieces of paper they put in there. Either to start a nice fire or to lay out if we are doing something messy. And if we didn't it is so much easier to crumple it up and toss it than to deal with a million little peanuts.

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ediej1209 AL Zn 7

Amylou, I agree. Those packing peanut things are a nuisance. Some companies at least now make theirs biodegradable (or so they say) but the true styrofoam ones sit in landfills forever. Those are something that should be banned by every country!

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

I get annoyed by pre-wrapped produce on trays or in opaque bags, so you can't see a bad spot until you've brought it home and opened it.

FWIW, the ketchup I buy comes in an upside down bottle, and there's no problem with it sliding out easily - I think the interior is extra smooth or has some kind of coating. What annoys me about it it that it never squeezes out smoothly, but splurts out in a big gush at first and gets all over 😠

And I always store almost-empty bottles of toiletries and condiments (& glue too) upside down to get that last bit, and sometimes even cut the bottles & tubes in half to get it all. You might be surprised how much product there is left in what seems like an empty bottle or tube!

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seagrass_gw

I don't buy the upside down squeeze containers of anything. I do find keeping a tube of tomato paste and anchovy paste in the refrigerator quite handy, though. And I miss the small tubes of mayonnaise we could buy in Europe - made sandwiches on road trips with them. Ketchup wasn't a popular condiment there, but mustard was. I only eat ketchup on hot roast beef sandwiches so it lasts a long time and we buy small bottles of it.

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Compumom11

FYI on the condiments refrigeration-- we were on a dear friend's boat last week and they've cruised from the west coast all the way to New Zealand. They are getting provisioned for another big trip next month. She shared with me that other cruisers never refrigerate mustard, ketchup or mayo with zero ill effects. I'm not sure my sensitive stomach is willing to try the mayo, but I'm down with making room in the pantry for the other condiments.

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seagrass_gw

Butter is the be-all of condiments for me, followed closely by grainy mustard. If you have olive oil and eggs, you can make mayonnaise and I'm not a fan of ketchup.

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arkansas girl

Mine is more about the excessive packaging that probably costs more to make than the product that is inside. As an example, the lunch meat that comes in a reusable plastic type container. I do reuse those but seems that an airtight plastic bag would be much cheaper and far less waste. I imagine that most people just toss those containers and for now, they aren't recyclable in our area...UGH! They only take numbers 1 and 2 plastics now.

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Lars

You can buy sliced meat at the deli section of your store to avoid getting the plastic containers. I have a very good meat slicer, and so I try to buy meat that has not been sliced, but I do buy sliced cheese. My meat slicer has a harder time with cheese, although it will slice it thinly as well.

No ketchup in my house, but I have on occasion bought mustard in the upside down bottles. I now make all my own mustard instead, and I frequently make mayonnaise instead of buying it. I find that I have more time on my hands these days, and I prefer to make condiments rather than to buy them. It did take me a while to find a mustard recipe that I liked better than Grey Poupon, however.

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donna_loomis

Lars, would you be willing to share the mustard recipe, please?

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Lars

Lars' version of Brad Leone Mustard

6 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
5 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 Tbsp yellow mustard powder
2 Tbsp Kosher (or Sea) salt
1/4 cup Vinegar of Banyuls*
1/4 cup dry white wine or Verjus*
5 Tbsp sauerkraut juice (or pickle juice)

Combine mustard seeds together and process in Vitamix blender using dry container. This will only take a few seconds, but should be pulsed, if necessary to get contents thoroughly ground. Pour into bowl with mustard powder and salt, and stir to combine.

Mix vinegar, wine (or Verjus), and sauerkraut juice in a one-cup measuring cup. Combine with mustard mixture and stir until completely mixed.

Pour into a one pint jar with a lid and store for 4 days at room temperature or up to a week, for a milder flavor.

My note: this recipe comes out very thick, and so I thin it with Verjus if I make it with wine or thin it with wine if I make it with Verjus.

Brad's note: if you use cold liquid ingredients, the mustard will be spicier, but if you use warm liquids, it will be milder. Not sure if that is true.

*You can substitute other vinegars, such a white wine or cider vinegar, but the Banyuls vinegar approximates the flavor of Verjus, in case you do not have any. Verjus is preferred over wine.



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nancyjane_gardener

2 things. TJ's fruits and veges in plastic! I don't need 3 peppers, thank you! 2 of them will rot before I get to them!

Also, that hard plastic packaging that is impossible to get into without cutting yourself to ribbons! They do make some special scissors to open said packaging.....but guess what it's packaged in??????

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amylou321

Another one:

When they use teeny tiny little zip ties to secure things to the packaging,and then you have to go find something sharp enough and small enough to cut them without losing a finger or an eye,then you have to find the piece that flew off when you finally cut through it.

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dallasannie

My biggest displeasure of packaging is not about not getting the product out of the container. My greatest objection is all the needless and wasteful packaging that is used for just about everything!

I have actually chosen to live without some things just because of the fact that the wasteful packaging is not worth the ease or use, in my opinion.


The myth and fallacy of recycling packaging is really coming into the light.

I read an article this morning about how we used to ship our garbage across the ocean to Asia where they dealt with the actual recycling. That recycling is a dirty polluting business that requires much fossil fuel to deal with and it is now coming to light how the plastics industry has lobbied and worked to create the illusion that we can continue to live like this with no consequences. That is not true.


We are all being duped while, at the same time, we are killing our environment and converting natural resources into mountains of garbage. They don't want it in those parts of Asia anymore and the market for recycled garbage is just not the robust one that it once was. Now, it is costly for localities to deal with it and it still ends up in landfills.

Those who create it, the manufacturers should be taxed heavily or restricted in what they can do to put dollars in the pocket of their stakeholders. They are killing us. Actually, they are using and abusing us and making us the instuments of our own destruction. Still, we go willingly to the cheap and the minor advantage of that bottle of detergent, or mustard, or toothpaste tube.

Just because it is that way does not mean that it has to be that way.

There is a better way to live and a better way to market products that benefits us, not the stockholders of Proctor and Gamble.

Of course, you can't ignore the issue of gross consumption, either. Not only are these products environmentally destructive,, we consume way too many of them for way too many trivial purposes.

The fact that the last few spoon fulls of ketchup won't come out of the bottle is not the real hazard of that bottle. The real worry about that bottle is what happens to it after that. That is what we should all be worried about.

By the way, speaking of ketchup bottles, I do remember when the neck of a ketchup bottle was like a long cylinder and did not have those "shoulders" on it. And it did not have a squirt cap on it. You took the cap off and put it back on after you used it. How hard was that? Not very. Of course, it was still in a glass bottle and a metal cap. Nothing comes without a cost.

It is my understanding that glass is hard to recycle now. Sure, they collect it, but it goes into the garbage in many places.

These garbage mountains are another disaster coming our way on top of all of the other horrible things that are happening right now. Have you seen them? I have. I have seen them on the outskirts of Orlando and I have seen them in parts of the south, real mountains that they drive trucks to the top of and dump more garbage on them. What a nightmare!

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

It is a nightmare. And tragic on so many levels. 90% of our population, (just a guess), is clueless, complacent, or just does not care about the environment. Also a global issue. Not just the US.

In 1979 I lived on GrandeRouteStJohns in NewOrleans. 3 minute walk to the original WholeFoods. Took my own LLBean canvas bag, glass containers and small and big ball jars. Bulk beans, grains. Even medical herbs were bulk like goldenseal and gel caps sold separate. Fill your own. (I was not a hippy at all). I was 19 so it just seemed sensible and natural. No produce in plastic clam shells or styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic. All bulk bins a-la-cart. To this day I shudder when in a WholeFoods.

25 year in NYC with mom and pop neighborhood shopping and city farmers markets with local farms allowed only. Stop by the fish monger, then the butcher when needed. Neighborhood coffee shops and no, ick, (Starbucks).

Styrofoam peanuts were all over my neighborhood during the last storm. Styrofoam might be the worst offender. But recyclables like cardboard packaging, that makes some fortunate non-poverty citizens feel good about themselves...are not going back to the recycler but into the garbage bags.

Disaster. Nightmare. Check.

I don't shop WholeFoods. Can't shake my early experience when they sold out to big business/shareholders.

We have a local CSA and coop store connected to a private school of rich privileged community members that have been exclusive for years. (Karens and Kens) . Nice to see they opened up to the community finally. 🙄




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foodonastump

Pet peeve: Bad opening instructions. I find this on a number of resealable bags. Take this bag for instance. There is no perforation or edge starter indentation to support “tearing.” And if I were to cut along the dotted line, I’d be cutting the zipper right off! Not sure how well this picture shows it. Please don’t expose me if you recognize the bag. Hopefully the cropping helps.



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Islay Corbel

Or easy open......not!

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Jim Mat

Re Whole Foods. WF is from Texas not LA, I knew Renee.

Maybe there were more than one WF, but the one today is from Texas.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Whole Foods Company or was it just 'Co' was started in Austin. They bought WholeFoods in NOrleans and dropped the 'Co' from their name. I believe that is the story. I don't really care. I should have said one of the first WF's. I was just being on topic about package waste. Who they were and what they have become.

Bad design in general. Those perforated pull tops that don't work. And some of the reusable/washable silicone bags for SousVide that leak or do not seal easily after a few uses. So much of the 'made to be used over and over' have flaws. They tear or the handles rip off. I avoid based or reviews.

The pyrex 4 cup that only pours correctly when you go soooo slow. Brad on BA test kitchen is always complaining when it pours all over the counter😂

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Jasdip

Resealable bags that don't seal worth sh*t. Sliced meat/sausages, frozen vegetables, everything. The sliced meat/sausage has a peel back tab, that doesn't stick again once it's pulled up. I opened a bag of something, and there isn't even a zipper on the bag even though it said resealable.

Sleeve I thought it was ME that couldn't pour out of my measuring cup. I have more liquid spilling onto the counter than in the dish. I'm learning to hold/tilt the spout just so.


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dallasannie

sleevendog, I remember that WF on Esplanade. We were just on the other side of City Park, off of Canal. It was a nice little store. Like you pointed out, there was life before all of this packaging. And, I really don't remember being put out by the lack of packaging.

When the Jazz Fest was going on, that little store got real crowded!

We used to walk to the Jazz Fest.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

We also walked to the JazzFest. Good times.

I got the story backwards about WFoods. NOrleans was WholeFoodsCo opened in 1974. WFMarket opened in 1980 Austin and bought WFCo in '89. I think it is often said the first because it opened 6 years earlier. LINK

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dallasannie

sleevendog, I can see myself in that photo. I am the girl in the front row with her hand draped across her knee. She could be my twin. Can also see hubby in some of the guys. And, what is with the one exposed at the end of the row who is wearing only a pair of shorts and his chest hair? I'll bet that he regretted not being dressed for the photo. Although, he is not the only bare chested one.

Hubs and I see ourselves in that photo of our generation. We are all dead or just old now. That photo is priceless. I messaged it to both of our kids. They were just little at that time. It seems to indicate 1980 but it sure seems to look a bit before that.

Back then, if your overalls or jeans had stains, tears or frayed hems it was because you actually wore them and lived life in them. I saw today that Gucci is selling grass stained overalls for over a thousand dollars a pop! Of course, it is not even real grass stain, but, rather a dyed in "stain". If I were to pay $1,400 for a pair of stained overalls I want someone to have rolled around in some real grass to put it there and I want to see a little label that reads, "personally pre-stained for you by ,,,,,,,Larry, in bookkeeping" !

If you are budget aware and have a taste for such fine things, you can get the grass stained jeans version for slightly less.

I also read another article about the complicated and highly polluting chemical process that goes into making "prestressed" clothing. Talk about waste and foolish use of resources!!!!!

Let us hope that the supply chain for those dries up real soon! What a foolish thing!!!

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Farmer stained clothing, 🙄

@sushipup, my sister brought back some little mesh bags from a vacation adventure. Used for soap slivers. Can't believe amazon has them. (similar) called soap saver bags

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dallasannie

There was an article this morning in the news feed about how Ocean Spray cranberry products were partnering with a firm called TeraCycle to recycle the plastic that they use to package.

I had heard of this terra cycle business. before. They, essentially, have you mailing, yes MAILING ,your plastic garbage to this firm in New Jersey where they claim to recycle it. Without getting too detailed about it, let it be that folks are actually thinking that it is a good thing to mail their garbage?

All of this nonsense and not one word about how to eliminate this wasteful and polluting plastic packaging. Not one good initiative on the part to the company to do something about not creating the waste that they do.

This is all smoke and mirrors and these industries are taking no ownership of the problem that they create. That is wrong. In a more thoughtful and progressive society and culture that would not be acceptable and better ideas and attitudes would prevail.

Unless the waste is prevented from being made in the first place, we are never, ever going to do anything really about any of it. It just has to stop at the source.

Hubs had a "connected" Italian uncle in NJ who was in the hauling business of dealing with recyclables. He was testament to how much was actually dumped right into the landfill. There is another venue that is ripe for exploitation.

Between the smoke and mirrors approach by the industries and the "I deserve it" attitude of so many Americans, there is little real progress being made to change this destructiveness.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

One step forward, two steps back. Complacency for twenty years I can see.

Maybe 30 years?. I had a friend, neighbor, back in the day, that started a community volunteer Saturday morning compost recycling venture in our local park. Very successful. Paper bag in our freezers. Add veg waste as it accumulated. Drop off, no biggie. Fast forward they found investors and went full on into a recycler business. No surprise that ten years later he sold his share and said, "lots of money to be made but it is not at all what everyone thinks" ....he bailed out, retired at 40, publicly embarrassed, (at least to me) that it is a totally messed up money making business for a few. Not had contact but I'm guessing he is doing better things with his wealth.

That look on his face was priceless. I'm wealthy and not proud of it.


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Lars

FWIW, Whole Food [singular] Company in New Orleans predates Whole Foods [plural] Market in Austin, but Whole Foods did buy Whole Food Company. In 1979, Whole Food Company did exist in N.O., but Whole Foods Market in Austin did not open until 1980. I did not shop there when I lived in Austin in the late 1980s, but I have shopped there when I visited my sister later in the 1990s and 2000s, as her house is close to it, and my house (on Duval) street was not. I shopped at a market on 43rd Street (between Speedway and Duval) on my way home from university when I was a student there and would pick up a vegetable each day, much as I used to do in San Francisco.

In San Francisco, I lived half a block from an excellent fruit and vegetable market, and so I would only buy what I was going to use that day. We did not have much storage in our kitchen, and so I shopped at least every other day for groceries, and I went to separate markets for fish, cheese, bread, etc. That way I avoided packagung waste.

I spent two weeks in New Orleans in 1979 at Mardi Gras, but I don't think I went to the Whole Food Company, although I did frequent Central Grocery on Decatur Street - mostly to buy Muffuletta sandwiches. I also went to a soul food restaurant within 2 blocks of the Quarter to get all-you-can-eat red beans and rice for 60¢.

ETA: It might have been 1978, but I did go to New Orleans both years, although I only spent two weeks there one of those times.

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plllog

One of the current problems with recycling is that China used to take a lot of the plastic film and mixed plastics, but stopped. I figure demand drives the business, so I still put them in the city recycling pickup (they didn't say not to) even though I know a lot of it must go to landfill. Most of my kitchen garbage is paper, like kleenex. There's not much of it. A little food garbage. Lots of vegetable remains that go to compost. A bigger bag of recycling, but little mass--mostly air.

It's not that I go out of my way to use less packaging, but the kinds of things I buy and the places I choose to shop, don't have that much excess packaging. I'm weirded out when I get a stray package that has a lot of excess stuff.

I think there's hope in general. They're trying to come up with packaging that doesn't require an additional plastic bag once it's open, even if they're not entirely successful yet. They're using more recycled paper internal packaging rather than plastic. Lego announced that they were switching to paper for that because the children asked for it, but I don't know what kind of paper. I received one product which was trying with a paper tray, but then had a heat sealed plastic film cover over it. They haven't gotten it figured out yet, but it was still minimal mass of packaging, so maybe a step ahead.

Amazon is trying with their minimal packaging for items that don't require display packaging.

As a child, I took an adult to task when she was picking up styrofoam cups for a meeting of a fledgling environmental activism organization, but she didn't get it. Today, we should think to foreswear even paper hot cups for bring your own mug. That might fly with the younger people nowadays, where the ones my age used to think that was too extreme.

I have hope.

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dallasannie

pillog, my shopping seems to be much as yours is. We buy much from a local co op, the old fashioned hippy one. We have been shopping this way at this one store for almost 40 years and have seen it go from a place along the rail road tracks where you picked up your 20 pound bags of grains and such, to a small store to a larger grocery format.

In the summer, I am fortunate to have local farms selling directly and there are Amish farms where you can buy locally raised chickens and beef, and pork. I try to give my business to the locals and I get a better quality food in the bargain. Less quantity and better quality is the way I do things now days.

When I do shop the grocery store, I don't buy all of that junk and some things that I just will not buy because of the packaging. Many would be amazed at the things that they really do NOT need, but have been led to believe that they do. My list of unneeded things would be different from that of others.

True confession time.....I love Fritos. I love Fritos and always have. In these trying times I have treated myself to having them around most of the time. I buy a bag about every two weeks. I did not used to do this but these trying times have me so on edge and so many unthinkable thoughts haunt my sleep. A handful of Fritos soothes the mind and the soul, for a while.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

I've always been drawn to packing that has more than one use. Even as a kid when glass jelly jars had cartoon characters, then used as juice glasses when empty. Most of my pint ball jars are from 20 years ago when we used to purchase salsa. Some still do that. Early covid I bought a couple bottles of kewpie mayo, the Japanese one, thinking we might have an egg supply issue. Good mayo. They only had Hellmans in gallon jars, lol. I always add lemon vinegar, etc to the end of containers to shake and get the last bits remain out.

The sardines DH buys come in these....

This was a creamy dressing but even when it is almost out I add more vinegar and/or lemon/herbs and shake, turning it into something else for the next salad.

I do the same in the blender/cuisinart. Make a sesame dressing after making humus. Cleaning out the blender with some dressing liquids. No waste.

Low ketchup or mayo can become a nice 'special sauce' or dressing.

(kewpie containers are creepy, lol. Squishy)

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plllog

Kewpie mayo is creepy too, but just right for some uses. :)

Dallasannie, no shade on the Fritos. You deserve treats. They're not the sigil of the apocalypse. The ingredients are the same as you'd use to make corn chips at home. The factories are kept very clean. The packaging, including crating, is minimal even if the bags can't be recycled. No animals were cruelly confined or force fed. Was more oil burned bringing you the Fritos than the ingredients (I'm not suggesting that one can make Fritos at home, just looking for comparison points)? At a bag or two per month, there's no shame!

Full disclosure: I go through a bad of old fashioned, real potato chips at about the same rate, so I'd already done the think-through. :)

Come to think of it, even in my college era corporate job, back when, we each brought our own mugs to work, and washed our own. Saved a lot of paper. Then they disappeared one day when it turned out there had been an unplanned visit from the conglomerate overlords and there were no guest cups or disposables in the break room. Our president rounded up all our mugs from our desks to serve them, but never thought to wash and return them. :) I've always wondered which self-important besuited bigwig got my girly racoon shaped mug with the stripy tail handle. :)

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dallasannie

How sad that they took your raccoon mug! What a ridiculous thing!

Back to those Fritos.....They are the most simple and honest of the fried salty snacks. Potato chips can be simple and honest, too. I dislike most of those things with the flavoring stuff all over them. Some are almost inedible in my opinion.

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plllog

Oh! I guess I wasn't clear. They just used my mug and didn't wash it I washed it myself and it was fine. :)

Trader Joe's Ode to the Classic Potato Chip are as simple and honest as they come and remind me of the original Laura Scudders (someone owns the name now, but it's different). Since I don't go out, and my minions don't want to go into TJ's either, I've settled for Lays Classic. It's also just sliced potatoes, oil and salt. They're just thicker and have a more processed flavor, perhaps from the kind of oil they use.

When I was a kid, I loved barbecue potato chips. If they were the classics with a little barbecue spice, I might like them as a remembered treat. They were also really messy though. But the barbecue stuff was just spices. I don't get it about the chemical perfume flavors, whether on chips, in booze, or oils. Even for actual perfume, I can tell real from chemical.

So that's another peeve! Chemical perfumes in food!

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Compumom11

FYi TJ's fritos are as good as the originals.! Just sayin...

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