Originally Posted by avb3
I like the idea in principle, but the waste would be horrific.
Imagine sanitary issues. Imagine the amount of crushed fruit in a 53' trailer travelling from California
to Alberta. Tomatoes would be paste by the time they arrived even 5 miles from origin.
It's just not a workable idea.
Now, reusable containers? How do you get them back to point of origin? Biodegradable makes sense though.
Fresh fruit is currently not shipped individually wrapped in a sealed plastic disposable container wrapped in cardboard, and shrink wrapped.
I think you are missing the point, yes there is a need for some of the packaging, (particularly shipping
containers), but to individually wrap each piece of food
multiple times, (often the packaging exceeds the portion size), to be used only one time, then enters the landfill, that is a waste we can reduce.
Take cereal for example, Now each 10 oz portion is wrapped in a sealed plastic, or metalized paper bag, then boxed in a colorful cardboard container with the picture of a cartoon
charactor, or athlete on it.
A week later it is another entry in a landfill, (and by the way we used a gallon of oil
to manufacture it)...A better way; a durable plastic container with the same advertizing printed on it.
A system that might work, (we have all seen the horror of bulk foods left open to the public for anyone to dredge unwashed hands through it), is to have a sealed hopper behind the counter; you hand your empty clean cereal box to the refilling machine that refills it with the crispy oats, purges it with nitrogen, and reseals it. NO container waste. Just moving the final packaging step from the factory to the consumer. The factory can package the cereal in a 9 cuft plastic cube.
Freight already has to return the empty truck, and the now recycled pallets, and the 50 gal drums for liquids. A bunch of large empty plastic boxes will add little overhead, and could be used to transport ingredients, like raw oats back to the factory, (much cleaner than an open rail car).
Sounds crazy??? At one time A US company marketed a root beer
beverage exactly that way. Your first batch of A & W root beer
included the cost of an A & W root beer gallon jug. Later batches, you brought the empty back to be cleaned, and refilled from a giant sealed container of fresh root beer at a substantial discount.
It wasn't their marketing
method that sunk them, it was the general demise of the 50's era diner, their root beer lives on as a canned store brand.
It is not that there aren't other possible ways to safely, and cleanly transport food
to market, (an open dump truck of freshly cooked lasagna on a cross country road trip isn't the only other option)
. It is there is little incentive, (yes the company makes the same profit selling you the colorful plastic disposable container as it does on the bite of food that came in it).
Right now the cost of using millions of gallons of oil
to package food is hidden by not factoring in the cost of the waste disposal.
Most of us wash and reuse the plates we eat our food on. How much more effort will it take to wash the container we bought the food in. Even if this drastic an approach is not used,at least the store can provide the cereal with just the inner sealed plastic bag sized to fit the reusable box.