Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sanctimonious Paper Products

Whole Foods no longer carries the waxed paper sandwich bags I've been using for the past few years. They switched to the "If You Care" line which doesn't produce a waxed bag. I can't even say the brand name without rolling my eyes. Anyway, the IYC product is a greaseproof paper sandwich bag, not waxed paper. It does the job, but I don't care. I liked the the old waxed paper bags, pictured at the end of the post.

Natural Value waxed bags (the ones I prefer but can no longer source locally) are much lighter weight (used less paper) so you could fold over the top and a few times and the crease - and the sandwich or cookies therein - would stay put. I liked that there were more to a box (60 in the Natural Value box, and 48 in the If You Care). It's important to care about unit price, and it's important to care about paper weight and it's important to care about costs of transport - the one thing giving me pause about ordering a case of the Natural Value bags from Amazon at $2.99 a box.  But if I placed that order I'd have to reconcile the true cost of the shipping box, tape, the fuel needed for the airplane and big, brown truck to deliver  it (while idling, curbside) to my front door. Too many caveats for this emptor! How does one make responsible shopping selections with so many factors to consider?

I learned this some time ago: shopping at Whole Foods doesn't make me particularly environmentally-friendly.  In fact, WF tries to impart the false sense that I'm doing my part just by being there and that is just plain sneaky. The WF produce section is stocked with items sourced around the world. Its carbon footprint dwarfs the Jolly Green Giant's.  A produce-run to my local WF leaves me with fossil-fuels all over my hands (and possibly norovirus, to boot, given my disease-ridden reusable grocery sacks).

[Interlude - with apologies to WS] 

Scene 1 - Pinch kitchen
Lady Pinch is unpacking a Whole Foods grocery bag when the doorbell rings.

LADY PINCH  
Tomatoes and bell peppers from Mexico,
farmed salmon from Norway,  avocados from Chile.
Lo! There's the door. Who goes there?

UPS Guy
(shouts)
UPS!

LADY PINCH   
(shouts, cheerfully)
Coming!

Opens door.

UPS Guy 
You gotta sign for this.

Hands over a case of waxed paper bags and a Delivery Information Acquisition Device. 

LADY PINCH  
(signs pad, whimpering)

More freight from lands afar!
Here's the smell of the gasoline still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!

UPS Guy 
(muttering, shaking his head)
Get a grip, lady.

LADY PINCH
(returns the handheld device)
Thanks, Tom!

Slams door, and skips merrily back to the pantry to unpack the case of sandwich bags.

UPS Guy
(to the door)
My name is Roger.

Scene ends.

The thing is, I do consider the toxicity of my consumables, but usually cut to the purchase following a fairly cursory review. I can be a horrible consumer. I like my old waxed paper bags. That doesn't make me more-environmentally-friendly-than-thou, just opinionated and overly concerned with the minutiae of lunch-packing.

Click here to view the purchase I'm contemplating.

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