Back in the olden days, our milk came in glass bottles, we squeezed our juice from real fruit, and made our soup from scratch. In those days, so very long ago, there was a lot less packaging in our grocery carts and our refrigerators contained simple foods that were made from scratch. As a result, we threw away a lot less trash! With the advent of convenience foods came the boom in the packaging industry.
Suddenly, our refrigerators were packed with plastic bottles, tin cans, and tons of things that have to be thrown away. Well, the packaging industry is starting to offer an alternative to plastic, metal, and disposable containers.
Cartons are starting to appear and they have a lot of benefits when it comes to the environment. Evergreen Packaging has just announced the launch of a new website called choosecartons.com which is designed to educate and encourage consumers to consider the eco-friendly aspects of packaging when they shop.
Here are a few facts you may want to consider when making your selection at the grocery store:
1. Over 41 million households have access to carton recycling
2. More than 70 percent of the carton is made from paper, all from trees from responsibly managed forests.
3. The paper fiber contained in cartons is valuable. Recycled cartons are used to make products such as tissue, office paper, wall boards and other building materials.
4. Cartons are made with renewable energy. More than 50 percent of the energy used to make the paper in Evergreen Packaging’s cartons comes from biomass.
5. When you bring home something packaged in a carton you are getting 94% product and only 6% packaging. That is a very good ratio!
So, as a part of this program with Evergreen, they wanted me to go through my refrigerator on The Great Fridge Carton Hunt! What did I discover on my hunt through the fridge? (well, besides that it needs a serious cleaning out??) I discovered that most of what I buy in cartons are dairy products:
My husband and I love almond milk and try and use it in place of regular cows milk when we can. Of course, the kids don’t care for the plain almond milk straight and we buy regular milk in cartons as well.
The Silk fruit and protein is a treat for them…a pre swim team boost of energy in the morning! I also have cartons of Pacific Natural soups because I like that they are resealable. I can have a bowl at lunch every day and have a flavor I enjoy without worrying about whether the kids like it too.
I actually have 2 refrigerators because I need the extra storage space for the organic meat we buy in bulk from my local farmer. The fridge portion allows me to stock on on organic and natural foods when I find a good deal.
For my husband (the marathon runner) it is his much loved coconut water and my kids get the occasional treat of organic strawberry or chocolate milk. Good carton sales are a great find! And I have never had a beverage go bad that I bought in a paper carton. Of course, we use it up within a couple of weeks but it keeps my food very fresh.
I have plastic in there, too. Mainly for the berries and small fruits from the grocery store or things like bread or tortilla wrappers. Some of them are recyclable but many aren’t.
I am lucky that my recycling facility accepts paper cartons to recycle so I always make sure they go in the recycle bin and NOT the trash can! Packaging considerations are always something I think about when I purchase groceries!
For more information, please visit the Evergreen website. It is loaded with great information on carton packaging. You can share learn tons of carton eco-facts, play annteractive Carton Checkout game, and get information on carton recycling. They also have some cool recycled-carton art. If you want to help spread the message about cartons to organizations and schools in your area, you will find downloadable presentations and hand-outs to help you.
To learn if your community accepts cartons for recycling, please visit www.recyclecartons.com or check with your local recycling program. Right now, every carton fact shared, via Twitter, using the hashtag #choosecartons will help raise money for Habitat for Humanity® You can green up your fridge AND help those less fortunate at the same time!
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.