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Employee sparks conversation after sharing photo of unfortunately common kitchen practice: 'I've gotten pretty desensitized over time'

"Is there really any need [for this]?"

"Is there really any need [for this]?"

Photo Credit: iStock

Commercial kitchens have the potential to produce food more efficiently than any home kitchen when they work in big batches. 

Unfortunately, they fall short of that potential when they waste food or generate excessive plastic trash. One kitchen employee just shared an example on Reddit when they received a shipment of a product for their business.

What happened?

The original poster shared a photo in the subreddit r/KitchenConfidential, with the caption "Excessive single-use plastic in kitchens."

"Is there really any need [for this]?"
Photo Credit: Reddit

In the picture, the Redditor held a large Yorkshire pudding that came individually wrapped in a clear plastic sleeve. In the background was a cardboard box with what appeared to be dozens more.

"Is there really any need to individually wrap all of these in single-use plastic bags?" they complained. "All sorts of produce comes in like this. Our world is doomed."

Why does the plastic packaging matter?

Excess plastic wrap in kitchens, grocery stores, and other establishments is an ongoing problem. Plastic is cheap to produce, so many food manufacturers use it to protect products. However, it still has a cost, which gets passed on to buyers.

Meanwhile, the cost for the environment is even higher. Plastic is made from oil, and drilling companies cause incredible amounts of pollution when extracting that oil. While the plastic is in use, it can leach harmful chemicals into food. At the end of its life, it sits in a landfill or pollutes the environment again as litter, breaking into microplastics.

Yet single-use plastics remain depressingly common.

"It still kind of kills me, but I think I've gotten pretty desensitized over time," one commenter said.

Why is the company using individual packaging?

As one commenter pointed out, the restaurant and manufacturer might not be at fault for the packaging used.

"It's all because of the bad health department," the user said. "It's 'safer' to use single-use and they want you to."

In fact, individually wrapped single portions are an effective way to keep food sanitary and avoid contamination — but they're not the only way. Cleaning, handwashing, and safe food prep and storage practices can do the same job.

Also, if a company needs to individually wrap products, there are biodegradable alternatives to plastic wrap.

How can I minimize my reliance on plastic packaging?

In general, you should buy from brands and establishments that are serious about minimizing waste. Choose plastic-free packaging when possible.

In your own kitchen, look for alternatives to plastic food containers, including silicone, which will save you money and keep trash out of the environment. When you do have containers that are intended to be disposable, see if you can find a way to reuse them.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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