Food waste Friday and dustbin demon

Filed in Blog, Videos by on February 19, 2010 12 Comments
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Look at that face! Caught red handed with non zero waste chocolate

Look at that face! Caught red handed with non zero waste chocolate

I’m proud to announce, that after eating some casserole for dinner we have no food waste this week – yipee!

However, our dustbin demon is another matter.

This week I’ve been having a grand declutter of my wardrobe.

Now you’ll only understand the following bit if you live with a chocoholic.

The chocoholic isn’t me you understand; I’d rather have a bowl of mashed potato to be honest. It’s not even Little Miss Green; she’d rather tuck into crisps as you know. No it’s Mr Green who has a penchant for a bar of the sweet brown stuff.

So you’ll forgive me when I tell you that hidden in my wardrobe was my secret chocolate stash. I need this because I have got so fed up over the past goodness knows how many years of wedded bliss of buying things for a specific recipe (i.e. chocolate), and finding the cupboards bare when I got around to opening my recipe book.

Honestly, it’s been like living with a beagle.

So a few years ago I got a shoe box and put it with all the other shoe boxes in my wardrobe. Only this box didn’t house a pair of pink fluffy Jimmy Choos; it was a secret box of chocolate. This meant I could plan chocolate recipes in advance and know I’d have all the ingredients!

Anyway, due to the declutter and the new me who now only stores clothes in her wardrobe (rather than books, presents for people, things I’m waiting to stick on eBay and chocolate) I decided to shift my secret stash to one of the kitchen cupboards that Mr G doesn’t tend to go in to.

Well tonight, after a really busy day, those big brown eyes looked at me and said “I don’t suppose you have any chocolate in the house do you?” Yes Mr Green has not only a talking mouth, but talking eyes to add to his numerous qualities.

Me, being the adoring wife that I am, stealthily moved to the ‘not so secret stash’ and presented it to him in a flourish. To say he was like a dog with two tails was an understatement. The thing is, I think I have had a past life as a cook in a castle underย  siege or something, because lots of the goodies were out of date, or bought way before I was even thinking about zero waste. And alas we found some very unfriendly looking packaging.

Take a look to see what we found. I’ve read through pages of waffle on the Lindt website, promising me all sorts of environmental responsibility, but not found anything that actually says anything; if you know what I mean. So you can guess who we will be contacting next week! And to add to insult to injury, I didn’t even buy the product, as you’ll discover in the video.



About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Naomi S says:

    LOL! That was fun to watch. You guys are great!

  2. Alea says:

    I guess you are going to have to start making chocolates for Mr. Green. Though, as you have done a great job of pointing out, it can difficult to find the individual ingredients, in packaging that is fully recyclable.

  3. John Costigane says:

    There are lots of dangers in unexpected gifts. In this case, whether by accident or design, the unwanted packaging has slipped in despite your wishes. The fault lies in supermarket/producer attitudes to waste outcomes, of which they are happy to avoid financial responsibility. It is all the more galling when you have helped reuse much of this waste material, eg toothpaste tubes, crisp packs etc., in the recent Sainsbury’s collection box for the Philipines.

    Changing these attitudes is a longterm aim which means we enthusiasts must seek out, and promote, the choices which fit our agenda. Luckily, this time of year has a huge range of chocolate in Zero Waste packaging, ie Easter Eggs.

  4. Ben says:

    Plastic windows seem to be the new fashion now. Surely we could trust the manufactures to put the items we think we’re buying in the box? I suppose it enhances point of sale appeal for chocolates or pizzas, but why do things like dry lasagne sheets and tea bags have plastic windows.

    As for lindt, their packaging ranges from loads of poorly recyclable plastic to actually very good, depending on the item. Some of their products are helping me reduce waste. The lindt bar in red card and foil has the same filling as the balls, but card and foil are easily recycled. The lindt rabbits are also the best Easter packaging I’ve found yet. They’ve managed to package them in recyclable foil, with a small ribbon, and the packaging is appealing. Some of the other minimally packaged Easter chocolates last year just didn’t have the kind of visual appeal I’d look for when buying gifts.

  5. magdalena says:

    I love the Lindt rabbits, so cute! As for the plastic windows – here in North America Playtex bras, after decades of packaging their products in plain boxes, are wild to announce that now you can see the product through the plastic bag between the sleeves of cardboard! Now look, Playtex, we are expecting a bra in the box; we are going to open it and try it on because we are not buying such garment at its exorbitant price wihtout making sure it fits the necessary body parts!

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Naomi S: it was a bit fly on the wall, wasn’t it LOL!

    @Alea: Oh my goodness; a chocolatier – or whatever it’s called. I think I’ll just stick to chocolate cake ๐Ÿ˜€

    @John Costigane: Hi John; no worries – this year is really opening my eyes to some of the packaging that is out there. We will be contacting Lindt to get their response and returning the packaging if we need to.

    @Ben: Hi Ben! I was thinking that exact same thing yesterday when looking at one company who use cardboard boxes for their sugar with plastic windows in it. Brown and white sugar isn’t even attractive to look at!
    Thanks for giving the positive side to Lindt – I’ve seen the bunnies too and they are very cute. Never knew about the chocolate bar with the same flavour filing; I’ll look out for it and buy Mr G some as he was rather fond of this treat!

    @magdalena: Oh nooooo Playtex – what is going on with these manufacturers. I had the same issue with the rolled oats I buy – you can see the post here:

  7. Jane says:

    It is good when only the window cut-out is there and the product allows there to be no plastic insert. There is some great easily dismantled and recyclable packaging around. It has moved forwards and it is a great shame where it hasn’t and we should all draw attention to this.

  8. magdalena says:

    It’s something like when I want to buy products at the bulk food store. They insist that I use their plastic bags – contamination issues! Although it seems to me that I’m the only one who will suffer if I contaminate the product I put in the bag. I had re-used the bags for other things before disposing of them. I think next time I will simply save the bags for a future shopping trip there. As for the little plastic windows and the new plastic packaging – I’m tempted to just send it back to the company. Maybe if we all did that…

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Hi Jane, you are right; there are some good moves being made by many manufacturers; I guess it’s time to put pressure on the ones who aren’t so good!

    @magdalena: It seems silly you HAVE you use their bags; it would save them money too if you reused your own **sigh** We are finding out about plastic windows from manufacturers and if we can’t recycle it, we’re going to send it back to them with a covering letter.

  10. Layla says:

    Oh gosh! – What I am thinking is, at least here in Slovenia, manufacturers of packaging complain that European orders got cancelled (crisis + new eco trends??) and so they upped the prices, probably upped the marketing efforts too?
    Due to crisis and less buying, manufacturers of goodies may be open to suggestions of designers to make stuff more ‘appealing’ and here it goes, the whole kitchy shebang!

    A lovely lady who sells natural self-made soaps etc said that many people still ‘buy with the eyes’, and while she’d love to go for ‘no packaging’ or zero waste packaging (and has some lovely efforts in that direction!), she saw that terrible cellophane-wrapped ‘gift-wrapped’ kitchy disasters sold best!!
    I guess trendy magazines (and/or florists and other gift-wrappers) would need to teach people better??

    On the other hand, how come the packaging was torn instead of ‘prettily opened’ to reuse for artsy/crafty projects, hmm? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (My Grandma used to save ‘pretty paper’/foil wrappings for years and made all sorts of lovelies out of that!) I might do a few posts on these, hmm..

  11. magdalena says:

    @Layla: Oddly, Americans and Canadians prefer to buy unwrapped soap, or soap wrapped in plain paper. The cellowrap makes it look “cheap” to them. I love handmade soap, and used to buy it in chunks at craft fairs and small shops. We ahve a soap maker here in town,and she displays everything in open crates. I like to have a godo sniff before buying – I can’t use many fragrances. Maybe the trend will become westernized in the near future.

    I re-use old wrap over and over – I even iron it on a low setting.Same with ribbons.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: I think you’re right, Layla; we are at the mercy of marketing. I don’t know why people think these things are more attractive, but we have been taught to judge things on their appearance I guess.

    @magdalena: I prefer naked or plain soap too – it looks much more classy! We have LUSH here, where you can buy chunks cut off a big block; it’s great to be able to smell the scents before trying – like you I can only use a few.

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