How Much Waste For a Burger?

Where’s my burger?

Recycle, yes, you’ve heard it all before, and you’ve also heard that the USA is the largest consumer of packaging on the planet. Our waste is enormous, it’s so large in fact that the number of plastic bottles we use each year just by purchasing water, stretched round the earth 270 times. Fantastic figures, but how come no one ever leaves me a message? Anyway, I digress, take a look at the enclosed picture. What do you see? Anyone see a burger? I went last night to my local fast food joint, not naming names, but Uncle Dave would be rolling in his grave right now. I ordered a double with cheese, and ended up with a plastic bag, a paper bag, a cardboard packet and then a burger, oh yes, and that burger was wrapped in paper. All for $3.99!! Now if you look closely, you’ll notice that the only thing worth eating was indeed that brown roll filled with deliciously overcooked beef, so, what about all the packaging? How much did that cost this establishment, not only to manufacture, but now to recycle, and that’s presuming the recipients of such packaging can even be bothered to place these items in their recycle bins! No, I am adamant that we, as a nation, have to take a good look at ourselves, as does the rest of this planet, and change the way we do things, and the sooner the better. One of my own pet peeves comes when I walk into the local coffee shop, or indeed any of the larger national chains selling coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but I ofter partake in a wee pastry. OK, I do have the sweetest of teeth, along with a great smile! Anyway, it pisses me off greatly when they put my little pastry into a brown paper bag, using food tongs obviously, (God forbid we touch anything by hand now a days), and then after paying, I go out or sit down in the shop, take out my pastry and immediately throw that little brown bag into the waste bin. What a joke! It took at least the branch of a tree to make that bag, perhaps more, plus water, labor and other natural resources, all for what? Just so I, like everyone else who comes into every other shop in the country, can order and eat and dispose, all within the blink of a well needed raindrop? At some of the larger corporations I deal with, they use bio-degradable packaging, in San Francisco, where I live, plastic bags are now a thing of the past, but when I question the reasons for doing all of this, nothing makes sense. There are arguments for and against saving the planet and cleaning up the environment, but is anyone really doing anything about it? What is ‘green” and what isn’t? It’s a very interesting argument. Why ban plastic in favor of paper, when paper is harder to make and just as difficult to dispose of? Have you ever visited a rubbish dump? I have, it’s not a pleasant experience, and I think if more people took the time to see what actually happens to all their waste, it might, and I use that term lightly, just help alleviate the terrible issue we are going to have in the future. In the UK, you are fined if you don’t follow the rules. In London, your garbage is only collected on alternate weeks. Think how smelly and how ugly that looks sitting outside your home, and imagine how you would feel if it was the same way here, in the USA? There would be an outcry of condemnation towards local authorities. London also sends you these, ‘fines’, for abusing the system, in the mail. So one day you go to your mail box and you find a ticket costing 50 pounds, to be paid within 48 hours or it doubles, all just because you threw a banana skin into the can that’s for recycling paper. There are garbage Nazi’s patrolling these recycle stations and accompanying the garbage collectors, just for the sake of increasing their ‘fines’ collection.

So, for the alternative, look to the future. What can we as a nation do to cut down all this wastage, and do we really want to do anything at all? Would it be easy to replace that bag for my pastry with something less expensive and something friendly to our environment? I challenge each and every one of you to come up with an idea, no matter how silly you think it might be, challenge yourselves and let me know what ideas you have. Someone out there, other than me, must have the same concerns and don’t tell me there isn’t an alternative to unnecessary waste, there just has to be, and the cure must be staring us right in the face, a face that we continually stuff with garbage!

One thought on “How Much Waste For a Burger?

  1. What about all of the energy it takes to manufacture and transport all of that extra packaging? It really is ridiculous. I do the simple things – bring my own bags to the grocery store … decline a bag if I can actually carry what I’ve just bought … recycle .. but it seems pretty insignificant really. A drop in the ocean. The big plays are fermentation manufacturing and while there are some successes, a major shift is still decades away. Until then, I’ll keep taking my own bags to the market. I guess if enough people do the little things, it eventually does add up.

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