Aug 28, 2018
Anyone living in Japan who buys snacks regularly must be aware of this too. When you buy a single bag of snacks, you can often find 18 other tiny snacks within the bag that packages each piece of thing individually. I used to think that it is a very thoughtful design that allows people to bring just one piece of an item, to limit themselves from how much they eat, or best yet, to share it with other people.
Sure it is a little bit annoying that I have to rip another package open before I can eat the next chocopie (and no way I am eating only one), but there are the 3 other benefits mentioned above. Plus, it keeps the snacks fresher and perhaps keep your fingers cleaner too! There are so many benefits to it, right? Well…
If we consider the amount of garbage it produces, it is quite shocking. If you are eating those little individually wrapped chocolate, you are creating one piece of junk for every tiny cube of chocolate you eat (and no way I am eating only one).
The senbei I had recently was delicious, and I ate the whole bag in one go because it was so addictive, but when I finished, I realized that I had stuffed all the individually packaging into the original bag, which I put into another bag in the trash can. Within 10 minutes, I finished an entire bag of senbei and created an entire bag of garbage. That is quite sad.
So what can we do? One thing that we can support is rather than buying individually packaged food, we go for the versions or similar products that has everything in one bag.
This package of cheese I bought recently was, for example, had the cheese individually wrapped. The idea was nice, because it kept the cheese fresh and made sure that they will turn bad later rather than sooner. But I realized that by purchasing this new packaging design of the cheese I am used to buying, I was sending the message to the company that I support of their idea, but I don’t really support of the creation of garbage. From now on, I will avoid those products. Consumers can vote with our wallets, so if we show disinterest in something, companies will stop making them.
If we think about it, the cost of factories making all the extra packaging is placed on the customers too! So theoretically, companies that use less packaging should be having cheaper products, and that sounds good to me.
Some people might argue that the individually packaging helps with limiting ourselves. Well, I think self-control is something we can do by ourselves, and even if I am bad at it (which I am), the result shouldn't be that more garbage is produced because of my poor self-control.
Even if the idea of voting with our wallet is not 100% effective, we are at least immediately reducing the garbage we are personally making. It is something I can do right now and it isn’t really a challenge at all, so why not? When I am eating some chocolate or senbei, I know that there is no way I am eating just one, but I can try to keep the garbage to just one.