First there was the main Four Pounds of Cheese Project in which participants photographed a week’s worth of discarded food items. Then I went a step further and also photographed inedible but still food-like waste that same week. Here is the last installment: food packaging that was discarded for a full week in our household.
Anything recyclable in these photos was recycled, such as all of the cardboard boxes, the recyclable plastics, etc. However, much of what’s here is not recyclable. Furthermore, recycling takes a lot of energy, from the carbon footprint of collecting and transporting the materials to the actual recycling processes themselves. Rebleaching paper is hardly an eco-friendly venture; neither is melting down plastics and metal to be reformed. Yes, these things mean less new resources are used, but never trick yourself into thinking that recyclable waste isn’t waste. It is waste, just a slightly improved version.
Note that some photos contain egg shells and other items that were already counted in the inedible waste photos. Also, the rocket cookies weren’t wasted; they were all eaten, but I was getting pressed for time so took photos of the parchment paper while some cookies were still cooling on it.
Also note that the main part of the plastic tub for the zucchini sticks actually ended up being reused instead; it is currently holding a bunch of cookie cutters with no other place to live. But the top plastic did get thrown out.
Here then are twenty-two photos of a week’s worth of packaging waste: