One Redditor, unfortunately, was able to find even worse in a meal kit.
“I see your meal-kit plastic wrapped scallion and raise you: a single slice of white bread,” they posted to the Reddit thread, r/Anticonsumption, with a photo of a slice of bread wrapped in plastic packaging.
This is unfortunately quite common in meal kits, making them extremely wasteful despite their convenience.
For example, one user found five cloves of garlic in their meal kit, each individually wrapped. This is likely to preserve the items longer and make it more convenient for the company — it’s easier to throw three bags of garlic in one box and five in the other than it is to count out small individual cloves or have different amounts pre-packaged.
However, not only is this sort of packaging bad for the environment, it isn’t helping the consumer, either. That much packaging ups the cost of the meal, and it’s inconvenient.
“Plastic aside, charging money for that is criminal,” one user wrote.
There is an occasional use for excess packaging. One Redditor mentioned that their dining hall does this for gluten-free bread to avoid cross-contamination. However, those reasons typically don’t apply to kits like this.
Some commenters had good ideas on how to avoid at least some of these issues.
“I use a meal kit sometimes and I wish there was a way for you to opt out of common items. I don’t need most of the spices [or] the vinegars,” wrote one user.
This isn’t a bad idea. It’s more work for you to unwrap everything, you’re the one who will have to empty the garbage that much sooner, and the excess plastic is bad for the environment. Of the 40 million tons of plastic that gets thrown away in the United States each year, only 5% of it ends up getting recycled.
A possible alternative for meal kits is meal prepping — cooking and portioning a few meals at the beginning of the week, so all you have to do is heat them up. It has a similar convenience that meal kits like these allow but is much more eco-friendly because you can buy the ingredients and store the meals in reusable Tupperware. Plus, it’ll give you the opportunity to cook whatever you want, rather than sticking to their strict recipes.
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