HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Convenience Products And The Environment-How Ridiculous Can You Get?

Earth Day was just one day ago, and here I am watching the Today Show and a pancake product was shown-The Batter Blaster. No kidding, this is a can that sprays out pancake batter like canned cheese. Just point, blast and cook! UGH!

I thought that Bisquick's Shake 'n' Pour was bad enough, but this is just mind boggling!

Think of the landfill waste that these lazy, "lowest common denominator" products produce. Not to mention, the unrenewable resources which are used to make them.
To make pancakes, why can't people mix flour, baking powder, milk, and eggs together?? How hard is it? And use a mixing bowl, not a plastic-one-time-use-container!

What other products are really easy to make (even for non-foodies), but are turned into wasteful convenience products?

Pics below.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've got a friend who makes scrambled eggs and omelettes with Egg Beaters because it's "more convenient". But here's the kicker: She doesn't like the way they taste!

    2 Replies
    1. re: RosemaryHoney

      I can understand Egg Beaters and like products because while separating eggs is very easy-what if you really don't want the yolks for say, health reasons? Now, if she doesn't like the taste....throw a real egg into the mix!

      1. For people who live alone, the Batter Blaster never gets old or stale and lets you have one or two small pancakes every week as a treat and takes a long time to use up. The batter is tasty and the pancakes come out with a crisp edge and fluffy insides, more like a waffle.

        My 83 year old widowed mother finds it to be a nice treat for herself. She had been having toast and jam for breakfast for a very long time after Dad died. I have taken to mailing her Spam Singles (yes, one slice in a cryovac package) as more of a treat.

        yes. It is a waste if you look at it that way, but single serve stuff is filling a void for more and more people and is not a waste looking at it from another viewpoint.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cathy

          When I make pancakes for just two people, I save the leftovers in the fridge for later. Now for folks who are physically challenged, ok. But, if you're able-bodied, make an appropriate size batch.

          1. re: monavano

            agreed. pancakes freeze and reheat surprisingly well.

          2. re: Cathy

            I think this is a great point. When I lived in Japan, you could get fresh food in single sized portions because people don't have kitchens with large amounts of storage space. It's frustrating living in the U.S. with the expectation that you have a family of 4 or more and need huge sizes of everything. I end up throwing away so much food because I can't eat it quickly enough.

            1. re: Cathy

              I have taken to mailing her Spam Singles (yes, one slice in a cryovac package) as more of a treat.

              What have you got against your mom?

            2. This a real flashpoint issue for me! But I'll rein in.

              My all-time favorite ridiculousness was the peanut butter singles. You know - like cheese singles, wrapped in plastic? Because spreading peanut butter is too flipping difficult and time consuming? A close second is the Smucker's Uncrustables PB sandwiches in your *grocer's freezer.*. Huh? Because so much of my otherwise valuable time is consumed by spreading PB on bread? Oh...maybe it's the laborious task of cutting off the crusts? I never knew I was so oppressed by such tasks.


              7 Replies
              1. re: cayjohan

                The most utterly ridiculous one I know is frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for kid's lunches. What???? Is it too hard to...never mind. I give up.

                  1. re: cayjohan

                    I can't stand this one...if you need a reason not to buy the frozen PBJs, look at the ingredient list...it's cheaper to buy some nice natural peanut butter and nice preserves, put it on whole wheat, and you're not filling your kids with chemical crap. If the parent is lacking time, have the kids make their own lunch. Simple. Problem solved.

                    1. re: Fromageball

                      The battle with our kids was solved pretty simply. They loathed the inexpensive school lunch so I offered Older Kid money to make lunches for herself and younger sister.
                      I gave them a budget and they were forced to negotiate acceptable menus or Younger Kid complained to The Boss.
                      Now they are very successful adults who understand the business world,

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Excellent. I think too few people understand that getting the basics of anything at home at an early age is going to create habits that will likely follow through. Congratulations for a good solution and good "kids."

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Totally! That goes for cooking as well as social skills(manners) of my neices and nephews it's real obvious who practices manners everyday and who thinks they only need to be trotted out for "company"

                        2. re: MakingSense

                          I absolutely love this solution! A win-win-win. I'm going to steal this one when I have kids.

                    2. Another one that perplexes me-those individually wrapped prunes. Do you really need hermetically sealed prunes?

                      37 Replies
                      1. re: monavano

                        No, you don't. From a marketing perspective, it makes prunes more attractive....almost like candy.

                        It never ceases to amaze me at the vast array of "convenience" products that are on the market.

                        *shaking head*

                        1. re: monavano

                          jfood would point out thst you can throw a few in your pocketbook to-go. This is not such a crazy idea if youthink of that use.

                          1. re: jfood

                            HA HA! "To-go!" Think about it! Funny!

                            1. re: jfood

                              But a small sandwich ziplock bag would do the same thing.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Yup. You can place a lot of different words instead of "small sandwich ziplock bag" in your post LW and there will be someone who will find fault in it.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  Well, I just look at the reusable ziplock bag as a better idea than the individually wrapped prunes.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    oh yeah, oops jfood forgot the re-useable concept for zippies. he does not re-use them.

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    Would a prune cozy be more appropriate? ;) I actually really like the tiny Ziploc/Glad containers with a lid. We use/reuse them for all sorts of things--salad dressing, half a tomato, leftover chipotles in adobo. And they'd make a fine prune cozy as well. I still contend "prunes to-go" is a funny concept, though I don't think you intended it to be.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      as much as jfood would like to take credit for the to-go double entendre, he did not. and if jfood takes a zippie with him, these is little if any chance it is returning to casa jfood for round 2. just not in his dna. wow two admissions he will get wrath for.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        Nah. No drubbing from me. Some of us are reusers; some not. Hey - at least I don't reuse foil like my grandmother did - although having gone through what she did back in the 1940s in China when the Japanese invaded, I don't fault her for that!

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          HA HA HA! My mom (age 73) is a foil reuser and it drives me batty! She sometimes starts to fold it back up for me when she's at my house...I throw it away after she leaves. What can I say? I guess we all draw the line at what we're going to reuse and there's nothing wrong with that.

                                          And jfood, you were nominated as the confessor in another thread (was it yesterday--I forget which one now). I think you get a pass on wrath for that.

                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            My mom used to wash ziploc bags, dry them and reuse them and it drove me nuts . . . but now I do the same thing (though only if a good rinsing will suffice - I draw the line at actually taking a sponge to them). There's just something about throwing them out after one use that grates on me . . . likewise I never have to buy tupperware because I refuse to throw out old jars/cottage cheese/yogurt (large) containers.

                                            1. re: Cebca

                                              I save those things too. I use old glass jars to store grains and pasta. I have bazillions. Yes, bazillions.

                                              1. re: Cebca

                                                Yeah, I'm the same way with lunchmeat containers. The Hillshire Farm ultra-thin and hearty slices come in gladware containers(with the store brand equivalent in reynold's containers, but, meh, same thing). So I just wash 'em out, and they make great leftover containers. I live by myself, so that tends to be a good size for leftovers, anyways.

                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                              My Gramma who passed a few years ago was a child of the Depression and even though she lived a financially comfortable life, she never lost the frugality that came from living through that time. She reused foil and baggies and meticulously folded plastic bags into little squares to be stored in a cozy she sewed herself.

                                              When she died and we cleaned out the house, in her spice cabinet we found plastic spice bottles recycled (we presume for bulk spices). I just pulled one out, a bottle for "whole oregano" that has "white pepper" written in Sharpie on the label (and containing it). I also have a jar of Durkee "Hickory salt" that, based on the label, has got to be from the '50's at least! Price: 49 cents for 3 oz.!

                                              Perhaps in honor of her or her influence, the older I get, I have taken more and more to reusing things. If foil hasn't got food residue I'll save it. I keep containers from sour cream, frozen raspberries, etc.. I use plastic grocery bags (from when I forget to grab my reusable ones when running to the grocery) for the bathroom garbage. There is so much waste going into our landfills, I try to do my part in some small way.

                                              We seem to go through a ton of paper towels, I was so glad to learn from the gardening forum that I can add them to the compost pile! No more paper towel guilt! ;)

                                              1. re: Alicat24

                                                A24, I always silently scoffed at my Dad and his super short hair and funny hats. Now I have super short hair and wear funny hats (Mexican Stetson type straw hats).

                                        2. re: jfood

                                          DW stops by the local DD on way home from work once a week or so to get us a coffee treat for the evening. Even tho we have 6 or 7 of those pressed pulp drink holders at home, she has to get another. And we can't throw these out because she needs to save them for the next trip...but they never seem to make to her car.

                                          1. re: al b. darned

                                            Man, you guys gave me the first good laugh of my day! I guess it's sometimes true that the older you get, you become what you always thought you wouldn't! And despite best intentions, your memory can get in the way of said intentions!

                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                              For years my aunt has kept a paper coffee sleeve in her purse so she doesn't have to take a new one with each coffee purchase. Nothing quite like being in an unfamiliar city and having your travel companion whip out her battered cardboard coffee sleeve! Last year for Christmas I gave her a reusable cloth sleeve - apparently it's a big hit at her neighborhood Starbucks.

                                        3. re: jfood

                                          Jfood -- By "pocketbook" I assume you mean purse and not wallet? You must be from New Jersey or thereabouts, as everyone I know who uses that locution is from there.

                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              I grew up using the term pocketbook in South Carolina...

                                                1. re: manraysky

                                                  Ditto Massachusetts, although I remember a confusing incident with my Iowa-bred grandfather where he meant "wallet."

                                                2. re: Sharuf

                                                  No. Jfood wrote pocketbook and he meant pocketbook. You gotta get out of the Bay Area more often.

                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                    I thought the correct New England pronunciation was "pock-a-book."

                                                      1. re: al b. darned

                                                        I'll 3rd that pronunciation...though having grown up here, it's hard for me to think someone would pronounce it any other way. ;)

                                                        1. re: al b. darned

                                                          Haha, definitely. I'm from CT, but also an overenunciator. That's probably why I just call it a purse.

                                                        2. re: Sharuf

                                                          OK, I see I need to amend the locale of the "pocketbook" locution from "New Jersey" to "much of the East Coast".

                                                        3. re: monavano

                                                          Wait! Aren't they "dried plums" now? My Dad was just complaining to me about this. As soon as they became dried plums, and not the more proletarian "prunes," the price went up significantly. Huh.

                                                          As far as individually wrapped goes? I say: get thee a baggie.


                                                          1. re: cayjohan

                                                            But in a baggie they stick together and 2 prunes create a bond that leads to a goop that gets all over everything and...and... I LIKE the tiny indie-wrapped ones. I can toss one in my pocka-book and have it for a mid-day perk.
                                                            Y'all are makin me feel guilty.
                                                            As penance, I totally re-use baggies, tin foil, plastic grocery sacks (people used to laugh at me for hording and saving plastic sacks-now I use the canvas bags) - I also wash and re-use my vac-seal bags (unless it once held fish or chicken) - I use a plate to cover a bowl short term instead of saran wrap. I'm cool with the tiny wrapped prunes- especially the cherry essence kind. Blah!! Leave us alone!!

                                                            1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                              Nah...not to worry. mrs jfood uses them all the time.

                                                        4. I actually saw Batter Blaster in the refrigerated case when I was getting yogurt the other day. I have to agree--making pancakes (just for myself sometimes) is pretty darned easy...and if there's extra batter, well, there's breakfast for the next day. It sounds like a bad infomercial--"Want pancakes? You need THE BATTER BLASTER!" Couldn't you see a spoof of this on SNL? Right up there with Toot Tone (equally hysterical)!

                                                          But what struck me really funny was a promotion for "Easy Cheese" on my box of Nabisco graham crackers. "Easy Cheese Original Cream Cheese...Introducing New Easy Cheese Original Cream Cheese pasteurized cheese snack! Now you can have the great taste of cream cheese with all the fun of Easy Cheese." And I'm thinking, what am I missing? What component of using a bar or tub of cream cheese was hard? Maybe people are doing wilder things with cream cheese than I want to know about or discuss here, but I thought it was pretty funny. Oh, and don't forget the "Easy Cheese Original Cream Cheese can be found in the cracker aisle next to all of your other favorite Easy Cheese varieties." I'll pass.

                                                          1. Frozen mashed potatoes and pre-cooked rice in a bag. 2 of the stupidest products ever!!! (Gnashing teeth....) adam

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: adamshoe

                                                              I am currently cooking with just a microwave and a kettle - and I find packets of cooked rice a godsend. Here in the UK Pataks make a variety of excellent flavours - all natural ingredients - many with pulses and spices mixed in, so they make a balanced meal when nuked with veggies.
                                                              For weeks I lived off couscous (just add boiling water) and the rice makes a great (if expensive) alternative. It also needs little washing up, which is great as I also have no kitchen sink.
                                                              However, having said that, when I get my life back (when the insurance company agrees to pay for my kitchen) I will never eat anything out of a packet/box/sachet as long as I live!

                                                              1. re: Peg

                                                                Peg, you need to get a microwave rice cooker. Three piece plastic job. Works just fine. A few $.

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  How about a lunch pail size rice cooker? You can make a single (Korean size) serving of rice in your office cubical. Even comes with a nesting container for your 'flavor-enhancing' condiments.

                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    Just saw one of these online today and almost ordered, but was skeptical that the voltage would work here in the U.S.

                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      I've looked at them at HMart (NJ base Korean chain), so I'm sure there are versions that work in the USA.

                                                              2. re: adamshoe

                                                                Do you mean the pre-cooked dry rice or the totally cooked rice in a bag that you can microwave in the bag itself? I tried the latter kind not too long ago (cause that's how bad a cook I am.) And not even my lazy butt would try it again. I threw it away and put a pot of water on to boil after a couple of bites. nasty stuff.

                                                              3. Camping.

                                                                as ridiculous as it would be to buy this product for home and use it, its pure genius for camping, when storage/transport space is at a min. and preparation area is suspect.....

                                                                15 Replies
                                                                1. re: nkeane

                                                                  That's exactly what I thought when I saw the Batter Blaster. I put it on my mental list of what to bring camping this summer.

                                                                  1. re: viperlush

                                                                    At Burning Man the pancakes in a can cooked in the sun!
                                                                    Imagine the art we created!

                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                      Though for camping, the fact that you need to keep the can cold (45) is a potential downside. Depends on how much cooler space you have.

                                                                    2. re: nkeane

                                                                      When camping I'm much more likely to use mixes and convenience foods than I am at home. Several years ago, I bought a bottle of pancake mix in a camp store. The fact that I could add water, mixing it right in the bottle, and pour the batter on the pan was quite nice. Clean up was nice also. Cleaning batter from a mixing bowl when camping is a pain, requiring much more water than just a few plates and a fry pan.

                                                                      The people who can't see the point to convenience foods like this seem to have an impoverished imagination. Sure, items like this may not make much sense in a well stocked home kitchen, with a fridge for eggs and milk, running water for cleanup, and a spice cabinet full of baking powder (non aluminum), baking soda, half a dozen types of salt, and a choice of cast iron, copper, stainless steel, 9 ply multi-clad cookware, and organic olive wood spatulas.

                                                                      But some people don't have all those home conveniences. Maybe they are camping; maybe they have a hot plate, cheap nonstick skillet, and a bathroom sink for cleanup. Maybe there's no room in the freezer for left overs.

                                                                      There is, in effect, a trade off between convenience foods, and home conveniences.

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        Agreed paulj. It's easy to point fingers when you have a full kitchen.

                                                                        I lived in a tiny residence at a resort for a few years where all I had was a bar fridge, hot plate (with one pot and a skillet) and a microwave. Very little storage space. Bathroom sink for cleanup. While I did have the option to eat in the cafeteria (pre-plated food that you took out of the machine and heated in a microwave), I didn't always want to trudge over there, especially on days off. Convenience products and single serves that didn't take space helped out a lot.

                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                          The above are all good reasons but I really doubt that these corporations are making these products for those purposes. But YOU benefit so that's a good thing.

                                                                        2. re: paulj

                                                                          That is true, paulj. But I wouldn't use that mix anyway as it has sugar in it (with very few exceptions, I don't eat sugar in pure form). And why is baking powder or soda needed in pancakes?

                                                                          I can make a kind of crêpe without any egg or milk/soya milk etc, using chickpea flour. If you spice that properly, it is very tasty.

                                                                          I deliberately have a small fridge that many North Americans would call a bar fridge. So do many, many millions of eaters throughout Europe, Asia, and no doubt other places.

                                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                                            Thin pancakes like crepes don't have baking powder. But the thicker, fluffier ones, that most Americans (and many Canadians) like, do have baking powder, or baking soda plus an acid like buttermilk. Yeast, especially in the form of sourdough, can also be used, but that requires longer lead time.

                                                                            If you used self rising flour you don't need to add the baking powder, because it is already present.

                                                                            Your chickpea 'crepe' sounds like a version of soca (southern France) or farinata (Italy).

                                                                            I don't use baking mixes much, but they are convenient when camping. Several years ago, when I started making biscuits in my camping Dutch Oven, I tried to find a biscuit mix in British Columbia. The only mix that I could find was the Robin Hood brand pancake mix. Biscuit mix is different in that it has some shortening blended with the flour (and salt and bp). I could have bought the individual ingredients, but I didn't want to buy several pounds of flour, a full can of baking powder, and a big bottle of oil or pound of lard.

                                                                            Since then I have found at least baking powder in small units; 'alsa' brand from France in 11g packets (enough each for 500g of flour).

                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                              Seriously? No Bisquick or Tea-bisk? What is wrong with you left-coasters?!

                                                                              1. re: KevinB

                                                                                I'm not familiar with Tea-bisk. However the brand name and logo, 'Dr. Oetker', looks familiar. I'm not sure that I've seen that in Canada, or more likely in an import store like Costplus World Markets.

                                                                                Speaking of Costplus, they are a source of international convenience foods, including single serving packets of Nutella. I used to buy a collection of food items from there, and send them as Christmas grabbag of gifts to relatives in small-town midwest.

                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  So glad to know I can stock my purse with individual to-go packets of nutella, prunes and spam. thanks chow!

                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                    Wait..wait...wait. Single packs of Nutella? Isn't that simply called 'the entire 8oz jar' ?!?!

                                                                                    1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                      The 8 oz jar is the "snack" size, look for the larger jar for a full serving. (According to my wife)

                                                                            2. re: paulj

                                                                              A full kitchen? Okay, maybe I will buy it (your point, not the crap in a can. I don't feel the need for pancakes or the traditional middle American breakfast when I camp. And the outdoors may freshen my appetite, but short of being stuck in Donner Pass, ain't no way I'm touching that canned crap.) for camping, but at home? No way.

                                                                              What do you need to make pancake batter? A bowl. A spoon. Who doesn't have that in their kitchen? Even a Buddhist monk can go out and borrow the spoon.

                                                                              And the corporations making this stuff, the plastic bottle for mixing bisquik, the pre-scrambled eggs would just as soon that everyone used them every day. They give not a whit about the landscape, the carcinogens produced, you and your children's health and well being, or aesthetics. And the more we see this rubbish in the markets and the more we justify it, the higher our threshold for ridiculous wasteful garbage gets.

                                                                              I've had the "oh you are an elitist" argument with my sister over these very aerosol-can pancakes. Yeah, I guess there are people who don't have a full kitchen. Then again, there are more people who have no kitchen beyond a couple of flat rocks, some firewood and a pot, a spoon and a couple of sticks. They won't be buying spray can flapjacks, though the empty cans will be washing up on their shores.

                                                                              1. re: Pipenta

                                                                                I guess you've never met my sister-in-law. Honestly, for her it's not the problem of the bowl and spoon, it's the idea of reading the instructions and following them. She is VERY health conscious but just has absolutely no patience for anything that resembles cooking. When she discovered Organic Batter Blaster pancakes in an aerosol (? - whipped cream type) can she was ecstatic. I can't wait to hear your take on that product. http://www.batterblaster.com/

                                                                          2. This too, for me, is not only a pet peeve, but an infuriating nuisance. For the sake of convenience people will spend more money, ingest more junk, create more garbage...and for what? Do they have no desire to do anything for themselves anymore?

                                                                            “Who has time to cook anymore? Just heat and serve our chemically enhanced food products that are guaranteed to raise your cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce your bones to rubber...What to do with our plastic wrap and serving tray and cardboard box? Just throw it away...everybody does it!”

                                                                            One could blame the producers for designing such a thing as spray can pancakes, but honestly, their goal is to make money. Their motives are understandable.

                                                                            What I don’t understand is why, aside from the above mentioned exceptions, would these LCD nincompoops decide that processed foods are more appealing than fresh? I understand how some are attracted by the convenience, but when able-bodied men and women relinquish control of their diet to pre-fabricated, artificial food stuffs, I think the future becomes a dismal one.

                                                                            This theme has been addressed many times on CHOW, so my opinion is simply offered for what it is. I live by example...by not buying said contraptions and conveniences and instead eating fresh foods (when available) maybe I’ll inspire someone else to do the same. Being no hypocrite, I buy pre-packaged, processed foods. Sure I do, but I don’t rely on them solely because I don’t care to prepare my own food.

                                                                            Having possibly offended someone with this diatribe, (and before I bring my mind full circle and start contradicting myself!) I’ll sign off for now. :-)

                                                                            Monavano, great topic!

                                                                            1. Don't knock Batter Blaster unless you've tried it. I personally don't find mixing a dry mix with water to be that difficult or time consuming, but my SIL bought it because it's quick and made from ORGANIC ingredients. We were at her house recently and our son (who doesn't boil water) saw it and made a couple of pancakes. Nothing to knock your socks off but not bad either.

                                                                              She recycles, grows her own veggies and all that, but the idea of an aerosol can lost out to the ease and ingredients.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Midlife

                                                                                processed organic food is still processed food. not everything SHOULD be available the second we want it. and I still advocate the freeze-and-reheat concept.

                                                                              2. Next thing will be the instant banana. Just peel the skin and eat. Cripes, how lazy can you get :-)

                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: billieboy

                                                                                  You have to peel it? OMG, can'y they just pre-slice it & vacuum seal it? How about pre-chewed? Never mind, that would be too disgusting.

                                                                                  1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                    Haha, RMIS32! At Weight watchers one night we were discussing those steamer zip top bags, and how some folks use them to cook fresh veggies. One lady - who obviously doesn't cook - asked "you mean you have to WASH and CUT UP the veggies first???" poor dear, we got a good laugh out of that.
                                                                                    OP, It is a convenience food crazy world these days, unfortunately, but like other posters say, I can see where they can be useful at times. We do buy a number of portion controlled foods which are either unavailable any other way or too difficult for us to resist taking too much of.

                                                                                    1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                      LOL! That was my first thought, too. Actually, sadly, I've seen pre-peeled, vacuum-sealed, and frozen bananas at my local Asian food store.

                                                                                      1. re: vorpal

                                                                                        In a sense, even unpeeled bananas are a highly processed product, having been shipped from the tropics, and stored under sophisticated conditions, designed to keep them from ripening until it is time to deliver them to the grocery. Once ripe, bananas cannot be stored at home for more than a few days.

                                                                                    2. re: billieboy

                                                                                      No kidding I've seen peeled oranges packaged in clear plastic ball-shaped containers in the supermarket. Didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

                                                                                      1. re: Kagey

                                                                                        That's almost as bad as the slices of orange that restaurants use as a garnish. Why don't they save on labor costs, and give me a whole orange?

                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                          Huh? Isn't that like saying it costs time and money for the butchers to bone and skin a chicken breast, so they should just give me the whole chicken instead?

                                                                                    3. jfood is not endorsing this product or not, but before the crazies take over with the chemicals and the bad big business posts, please take a look at the ingredients.

                                                                                      Filtered water
                                                                                      Organic wheat flour (unbleached)
                                                                                      Organic cane sugar
                                                                                      Organic whole egg solids
                                                                                      Organic soybean powder
                                                                                      Sodium lactate (lactic acid from beet sugar)
                                                                                      DiCalcium phosphate (leavening agent)
                                                                                      Sea salt
                                                                                      Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
                                                                                      Organic rice bran extract

                                                                                      Looks like this one is a tree-hugger bad-boy product.

                                                                                      27 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                        That's what I pointed out above, but the comeback was "processed food is still processed food". I'm not advocating for this product, by any means, but someone needs to help me with what the 'process' is and why it's bad in this product. I get the aerosol thing, but what about the food part? Does the 'process' of putting the mixture under pressure negate it's ingredients?

                                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                                          In his book, "in Defense of Food", Michael Pollan asks that we not confuse food with food-like substances. Since it is hard to make much money selling basic foods, food companies try to "enhance" their value by adding another component, such as convenience. In doing so, they deconstruct foods into a myriad number of ingredients and put the ingredients back together in a new form. Pollan suggests that there is a loss in nutritional value by doing so. Perhaps that is why studies of people who take vitamin supplements never show better health results than those who don't. Processing food usually gives it a longer shelf life and makes the food less attractive to vermin, but it is believed to offer less nutrition. As nutrition science is still relatively young, as a field of study, this has not been proved. However, being that a lot of the ailments plaguing American society seem diet related, it seems prudent to emphasize eating whole foods in their natural form.

                                                                                          1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                            Except this Batter Blaster is made up of "real" foods. Simple stuff that you know what it is and can identify it - and is organic. Convenience is not the devil. I am not a huge fan of blasting batter and then having the can left over, but this one is completely recyclable. I do not stop buying - say pickles - because they are preserved and the glass jar is not recyclable in my area.

                                                                                            I think MP was referring to things like Cheetos.

                                                                                            1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                              Who deconstructed anything? They "constructed" (in jfood language that's called a recipe) pancakes out of ingredients that most would say are pretty healthy. OMG they added a pinch of convenience, for shame, for shame, how dare they? And now we have an author who is anti-convenience. Jfood just borrowed one of Pollan's books from the library and he cannot wait to see this theory in 400 pages.

                                                                                              And jfood could't care less about moving the needle of acceptabiity by vermin nor does he think that would come up in a pitch to senior management at a food company on approving a new product.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                Just for the sake of argument, are "whole egg solids" the same as just plain "eggs"? If so, why the funky terminology? I don't have anything called "Sodium lactate (lactic acid from beet sugar)" in my pantry either, although I do have sugar. Don't have any "Organic rice bran extract" either. Not even sure what that is or why it's necessary in pancake batter (flavor?). Are these whole foods? I'm too lazy to do the research since I don't plan to buy the product and don't particularly care. Just wondering...

                                                                                                1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                  Didn't your dad or grandfather tell you about the dried eggs that he ate as a soldier during WW2? How about the KLIM dried milk that the Red Cross provided to prisoners of war? They recycled the cans in their escape tunnels.

                                                                                                  Where do you think the sugar comes from? It starts off as the juice from sugar cane. It goes through many steps of evaporation and purifying. Or do you buy your sugar in raw brick form?

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    No, I don't buy sugar in brick form...geesh. I'm not an idiot; I actually do know sugar comes from cane or sugar beets. I've chewed on raw sugar cane stalks. And my grandfather just passed away about a week ago. Most of his WWII stories didn't involve food; most of them weren't very comprehensible over the past several years.

                                                                                                  2. re: Jen76

                                                                                                    Lots of stuff sounds scary when they use the "chemical" names. Sodium bicarbonate? Plain old baking soda. Sodium chloride = salt. They use lye to wash pretzels before baking them - been doing that forever. Normal stuff that sounds bad.
                                                                                                    Labeling requirements make life seem more complicated than it is.

                                                                                                  3. re: jfood

                                                                                                    "Who deconstructed anything?"
                                                                                                    Consider the legendary Twinkie. Among its ingredients are:

                                                                                                    High fructose corn syrup
                                                                                                    corn syrup
                                                                                                    Modified corn starch
                                                                                                    Corn flour
                                                                                                    Corn syrup solids
                                                                                                    (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabast...


                                                                                                    Corn, partly due to its being heavily subsidized, has been deconstructed to yield a number of component parts that go into processed foods. Extracting parts of the corn plant & turning them into new ingredients, then assembling those ingredients back into a food product does not seem to offer as healthful a product as the original ear of corn.

                                                                                                    I'm not trying to demonize the Twinkie, but if one is concerned with weight or health issues, it seems wise to de-emphasize this type of processed food and incorporate more whole foods into one's diet.

                                                                                                    It has been noted that immigrant groups, whose traditional diet did not include many processed foods, had a low frequency of ailments that plague the general American population. Once, having assimilated into American behavior, these groups begin eating a more "American" type diet, they exhibit the same frequency of these diet related ailments.

                                                                                                    Twinkies, 75 Years And Counting

                                                                                                    The Twinkie: Ingredients Revealed

                                                                                                    1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                      Was Twinkie, as introduced 75 yrs ago, any 'healthier' than the current version? It certainly did not have the HFCS. I doubt if the subsidizing of corn has a whole lot to do with the longevity or price of the product. It was introduced during the Great Depression, selling 2 for a nickel. I estimated, in another thread, that the current price of a Twinkie, by weight, is comparable to other baked goods - something like $8/lb if my memory is correct.

                                                                                                      Look at the dessert menu of any fancy restaurant, even Chez Panisse. It shouldn't be hard to find items there that are just as high in fat and sugar as Twinkies.

                                                                                                      A couple of years ago Chow looked into making your own version

                                                                                                      1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                        Jfood's comment on "who deconstructed anything" related to the ingredients in the OP.

                                                                                                        And jfood thinks any subsidy for corn came pretty far after the introduction of the Twinkie. And if you do not want to eat a Twinkie, please feel free to leave them to those of us who like them.

                                                                                                        And the correlation between processed and weight is suspect at best versus so many other factors.

                                                                                                        And to your last full paragraph, that has some major leap of connect the dots. Jfood doubts whether there is ANY scientific research other than the NPR'ers pontification.

                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                          re your last paragraph -
                                                                                                          "Among different immigrant subgroups, number of years of residence in the United States is associated with higher BMI beginning after 10 years. The prevalence of obesity among immigrants living in the United States for at least 15 years approached that of US-born adults."


                                                                                                        2. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                          All agriculture is subsidized, even small farmers who receive breaks on their property taxes because they farm the land, grow any kind of crops, don't grow certain kinds of crops, participate in "buy outs," or keep fields open.. Land owners can get tax breaks for leasing land to farmers or maintaining green space..

                                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                            ... producers of just five crops -- wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans and rice -- receive nearly all farm subsidies. In fact, only one-third of the $240 billion in annual farm production is targeted for subsidies. All other farmers -- including growers of fruits, vegetables, livestock and poultry -- receive nearly nothing.

                                                                                                            1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                              Note that the LA Times article is written by "Brian M. Riedl is a senior fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation". The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank, with a bias toward supply-side economics (low taxation and low government involvement in the market). So read his arguments with that potential bias in mind. A web search on 'Riedl' shows that a number of news sources picked up on his subsidies writings like this a couple of years ago, but now he is mostly arguing against the stimulus package.

                                                                                                              I was going to elaborate on the confused message in Reidl's article (do subsidies reduce or increase our food costs?), but it takes the conversation away from the original topic of this thread - convenience products. We have discussed the evils of corn and its derivatives in a number of other threads.

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                Whoever Riedel works for, numbers and facts that he cites from the US Govt. don't lie. Frankly, these numbers are the same ones that food activists use when they oppose subsidies for "big ag."

                                                                                                                Government subsidies and much of the thoughtless spending in the stimulus package distort the market and lead to poor choices, both by the government and by individuals.

                                                                                                                Your question is an excellent one. Do subsidies and government interventions reduce/increase food costs? What is the inevitable cost to the American diet, health, and economy because of those political interventions?
                                                                                                                Food policy should be about food, not politics.

                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                  While basic statistics may not be in dispute, the deductions can be biased. Numbers can be selected and aggregated to support various positions.

                                                                                                                  For example, is the aid given to corn growers that same as the aid that sugar cane growers receive? I seem to recall that there are sugar quotas or tariffs that keep the price of sugar high. If those were removed would the price of Twinkies drop?

                                                                                                                  Eastern Washington is relatively dry. Some parts get enough rain to grow wheat well. I assume those farmers benefit from subsidies that protect the price of wheat. But the driest parts, close to the Columbia River, grow apples, cherries, grapes, and hops - using irrigation. Some of that water comes from nearby mountain streams that have been dammed and diverted by local farming coops. Other water comes from large Federally sponsored projects like Grand Coulée Dam. Bonneville Power Administration also supplies low cost electricity that powers pumps for other farmers. Effectively, who gets more government assistance?

                                                                                                              2. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                                Comparatively, "all other farmers" receive little because those big crops account for such a huge volume of our agriculture and especially our exports.

                                                                                                                Remember that there are other subsidies outside of the Farm Bill. Tax policy rewards farmers and holders of agricultural land as well. That is at the local, county, State, and Federal levels. It can be substantial and is available to even the smallest land owners who might be ineligible for any farm subsidies.

                                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                                            I'm curious about your thoughts on Pollan's writing. Please comment, after you've had a chance to read his book.

                                                                                                            re: your "acceptabiity by vermin" comment -
                                                                                                            I raise the following question. If creatures, who spend a good portion of their time and energy searching out food, pass up some of the processed foods typically found in the pantry, is it because they are not smart enough to recognize it as food? Or are we not smart enough to recognize it as non-food?

                                                                                                            I don't mean to be excessively ideological about it. Convenience can often be enticing. Usually there is a trade off. It could be higher price, or not as tasty or less healthful. Personally, I find that I prefer the other benefits more than convenience, in most cases. To each his own.

                                                                                                            1. re: Rmis32

                                                                                                              Let's see, rats hang out in the sewer, eats scraps out of garbage bins, play chicken with subways, and get cancer from wearing leisure suits.

                                                                                                              Jfood will side with the humans are smarter than rats side of this discussion.

                                                                                                        3. re: Midlife

                                                                                                          Mid, you will find the process on these boards for many is:

                                                                                                          1 - Did a big company make it
                                                                                                          2 - If yes...It cannot be good

                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                            I agree, but Batter Blaster appears to be a small company, based in Scottsdale, AZ. I guess the act of putting a product in an aerosol can automatically classifies the company as 'big'.

                                                                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                                                                              jfood applauds this company, big or small for using these ingredients and adding convenience. If jfood sees in the stor he may actually pick it up and give it a squirt.

                                                                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                                                                              And then there are the sensible ones...

                                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                                            I cannot and do not rail against this particular product. How can I? I’ve never used it, nor have I investigated its properties.

                                                                                                            My displeasure is more directed towards pre-packaged, convenience foods taking the place of fresh foods. If these pancakes are organic and produced with health and nutrition in mind, that’s great. I don’t care how you got the batter in the can, but you’re still left with a disposable aerosol can, and little personal satisfaction at having made a delicious meal yourself.

                                                                                                            I am not an activist and largely stay out of mainstream right-and-wrong hullaballoo, but this is where _I_ am right now - trying to limit my consumption and waste.

                                                                                                            Or perhaps I’ve seen Soylent Green one too many times. LOL

                                                                                                            1. re: jfood


                                                                                                              Possibly tasty BUT not tree-hugger friendly by any stretch of the imagination.

                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                Sure, the ingredients are mostly recognizable and similar to what you'd get in pancake mix that comes in a box. It doesn't mean that either is particularly healthy. For two four-inch pancakes your're getting 90 calories worth of mostly just carbs (and mostly sugar), a whole lot of sodium and not much else else. It doesn't sound too healthy to me. And the point the OP was making is that all this comes with extra of a big metal can and plastic lid to add to the already overloaded planet's waste dump.

                                                                                                              2. Oddly enough, this product is organic, and has a decent ingredients list. Go figure.

                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                  And it's one of those products that says sea-salt rather than salt, cus sea-salt is more organic and healthy.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                    What, exactly, are you trying to say?

                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                      There is this belief that sea salt is so much more healthy than ordinary salt. This is the same sea that contains many man-made chemicals, pcbs, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers etc. We then evaporate the water so we can elevate the concentration of these chemicals and sell it as sea-salt. And yet it is considered by many as more healthy because of other trace minerals.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                        I haven't come across anyone who thinks that sea salt is better for you than reular old table salt, but I imagine there might be a few such around.

                                                                                                                        Several years ago, I hosted an olive oil/vinegar/sea salt tasting party: The most interesting aspect, to me, was individuals' strong reactions to the different salts. There's lots of variety in flavor and texture, which I think is appealing to many people.

                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                          pikawicca, what a great "tasting"! How did you present each ingredient, meaning how did everyone taste them - just plain? Or were things dipped in them/were they used in some similar manner?

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            I offered bread for dipping, salad greens, beef carpaccio, pasta, cheeses, just about anything I could think of, and invited guests to bring their own "dippers" for tasting.

                                                                                                                            It was a blast, perhaps the best party I've ever thrown. I bought a bunch of small jars from Penzey's for guests to take home small amounts of their favorites.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                              Agree with LW. That sounds really fun and food geeky--just like my kinda party! :)

                                                                                                                          2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                            Texture is something completely different. When the served food contains granules (ie undissolved salt) then granule size and drying process (that affects the crystalline structure) make a big difference.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                              "I haven't come across anyone who thinks that sea salt is better for you than reular old table salt, but I imagine there might be a few such around."

                                                                                                                              Sadly, I have a co-worker that maintains that sea salt has much less sodium than table salt, and that's why he uses it. I have told him that it's still sodium chloride, but the major difference between that and table salt (nutritionally) is the lack of iodine.

                                                                                                                              Now, I really like the taste and texture of sea salt, so I can't fault him there. I just hope he's not on a sodium-restricted diet, because if so, I think he might has missed the point.

                                                                                                                              Pikawicca, that sounds like a great idea for a party!

                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                Oh my goodness we would SO have been there -- me for the liquids, and my wife for the salts. She is a confirmed salt lover.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jmckee

                                                                                                                                  Agreed. That party sounds like a total blast! As a salt and vinegar lover, I think I may try to do something similar at some point in the future. Now I'm craving some Murray River and Cyprus salts as well as a good balsamic. Yum yum!

                                                                                                                      2. Our grocery stores sells oranges. Sliced in quarters. Individually wrapped in plastic. *headdesk*

                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: sailrox

                                                                                                                          In Japan, almost piece of produce is somehow individually wrapped. I appreciate the ability to get single servings, but it seems a bit wasteful to me to wrap up the bananas in plastic.

                                                                                                                          1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                            Especially since bananas come with their own "wrappers"--skins!

                                                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                              I also like to rip off the amount I need and this was 6 or 7 in shrink wrap. Nothing was really wrapped in a way to make it easy to pack in a purse. It just made it so people couldn't manhandle the produce as much before deciding.

                                                                                                                              1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                Produce and potential mates are the same: If I cant fondle the goods before deciding, I aint interested!:-)

                                                                                                                            2. re: queencru

                                                                                                                              It's true! Bananas in a plastic bag, apples, oranges, pears in a little plastic net, grapes in a plastic box, etc etc etc. Japan is the king of wasting packaging materials.

                                                                                                                          2. One thing to remember when looking at these products is the aging of America. A lot of these convenience items are good for seniors. My Mom was blind the last 6 years of her life and lived alone and convience items, prepared foods, etc. were a godsend.

                                                                                                                            1. Bottled water and all of its spawn: vitamin water, flavored water, exotic waters from far-away lands...
                                                                                                                              It's a little-recognized fact that humans can actually survive for at least an hour, maybe two, without swilling from a plastic bottle.
                                                                                                                              The product costs more than gasoline but no one complains. It sometimes costs more than beer.

                                                                                                                              We flush our toilets with potable water in the US, while billions around the world have no sources of clean water.
                                                                                                                              Is something wrong with this picture?

                                                                                                                              20 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                You have no idea how hard it is to bring fresh water to many of those parts of the world.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                  Oh yes. I worked with the Millennium Challenge project for awhile. Some of those people have to walk miles every day to get ANY water, even dirty water.
                                                                                                                                  Made me really grateful. We take so much for granted in the US.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                    jfood hears you buddy and also has the stamps on the passport and the stories in the head.

                                                                                                                                    We are very lucky in this country for lots and we are about to face a water crisis here as well. It will be interesting to see how it is handled.


                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                          If all you are putting in them is dried fruit or carrot sticks or some relatively dry snack, there's not going to be much growing in there, so just rinse it out, use soap if you like. As mentioned upthread, you can get all kinds of tiny little tupperware that re more durable and easier to wash.

                                                                                                                                          Those arguing for convenience products for weakened elderly have a point, but the problem comes when able-bodied people who actually can stand at the counter for five minutes and mix pancakes get addicted to this stuff. I find pancakes in a can ridiculous and needlessly wasteful for most people.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                            Soapy sudsy sponge running along the insides against the pressure of your other hand.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                              And SUN! I had a neighbour who always washed them and hung them up to dry on the clothesline.

                                                                                                                                              I use those things as little as possible though.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                Exactly. Same way I wash all of my other storage containers and dishes. In the sink with hot water and soap.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                  They can actually go in the dishwasher as well (Gladware and Ziplock storage containers). They tend to show water spots a lot more easily, and their curved rim edge also catches water, so you have to final-dry them by turning them right-side-up to let the water drain out and then use a paper or dish towel to re-dry the outsides. But water spots are water spots. They're not fine crystal. :-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    We use ziploc storage containers for two reasons - I hate throwing out plastic baggies and if DD loses a container I packed to send to school (that has a zero garbage lunch policy) then at least I'm only out a few cents. Another benefit from my perspective - ziploc containers when they get squished/broken can be recycled, whereas my recycler won't take used sandwich bags.

                                                                                                                                                    I run them through the dishwasher too and at the end of the cycle turn them on their sides so the water in the rim runs off :)

                                                                                                                                              2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                I reuse them. I have a system. Ziplocs get round one with veggies and dry goods. They get either rinsed or washed with soap and rinsed depending. Then they go either back to veggies and dry goods or can get used for meats and cheese. By the time they reach the trash they are well worn. If they are worn, but still useable - but maybe dicey for holding meat juice or marinade, they go to the garage or to my gardening bin.

                                                                                                                                                Also, I reuse the small amount of bottled water bottles we use. I cut them and use them as a incubator for seedlings. I am a third rate Martha Stewart.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                  If I've marinated meats in them, they automatically go into the trash. If they've held dry items (a rice cracker/nut/dried fruit snack mix I made from TJs products) or something like bread or English muffins, they get turned inside out, crumbs shaken out, and then used again.

                                                                                                                                                  Same with those freezer bags that hold partially used onions, red peppers, etc. in the veggie drawer. I write on the label space what was in there; use up what is in there; turn them inside out, scrub them with dish soap and a scrubbie, let them dry, turn them right-side in, and store them on top of others to be reused in my baggies/foil/wraps drawer.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    If you hang them up on a chopstick in the silverware holder in the dishdrainer, they dry quickly. All sides are exposed to the air. No work at all.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                      Ahhh, but I don't use a dish drainer. It's another thing to store that I just don't need. I just use a dishtowel on the counter for what gets hand-washed (I tend to stick as much as I can in the dishwasher). But I *do* tend to prop them up on the edge of something - a pot handle, a wineglass stem, etc.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I don't have a dishwasher. I know they can actually be better for the environment than hand-washing if you are a family or if you could only wash your dishes once a week or something weird like that, but I don't want to take up the space in my little kitchen or buy so many dishes (once again, space). I find a dishdrainer very useful for draining any number of things, and it fits under the sink.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          I too am a dish toweler. I dry the bags over a bud vase.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                            My wife often dries the bags over the bottles of sherry or wine that happen to be by the sink.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                          and if you don't have a dish drainer (I don't either) you can also use a chopstick/skewer/butterknife propped up in a water glass or any other similar size/shape container.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                    it is one of those freaks of nature.

                                                                                                                                                    When jfood throws it out in the office or on the road the following morning there are plenty in the pantry with all their friends just waiting to help jfood.

                                                                                                                                          2. What I also find interesting is how many people I see shopping in the organic section in the grocery store (especially the specialty markets like Whole Foods) that stuff all their organic produce in those flimsy plastic produce bags and then wrap them all up in more plastic tote bags at the checkout.

                                                                                                                                            Having made the switch to 100% reusable cotton produce bags and grocery totes about 2 years ago I really get to feel smug when I stand in line behind these folks that are so concerned about the environment and are loading up their cart with all this trash.

                                                                                                                                            I even compost all the egg shells, coffee grounds, paper towels and veggie trimmings at home. And I drink water from the tap ;-P

                                                                                                                                            77 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                              So how much resources do those plastic bags consume? We collect our plastic grocery bags and put them in a recycling bin at the grocery. The current collection, one bag stuffed full of other bags, weighs about 13oz. Double that to account for energy used in producing the bags, and I figure they use less than a quart of petroleum. That's less than the fuel I use driving to the store and back.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                Multiplied by a couple hundred million people in this country you'll quickly realize that the amount of plastic (and subsequent waste) is huge. Although many below indicate that they reuse these bags (e.g. for trash bags or lunches) many, many more do not (especially the produce bags) and they just end up in the trash. Ever been to a landfill? Plastic grocery bags are EVERYWHERE.

                                                                                                                                                And I doubt that your collection bag full of plastic equates to only a quart of petroleum. Think about all the energy and fuel (both as source material and for transportation) that it takes to manufacture and transport these. Not to mention that they are polluting our beaches, rivers and oceans.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                  Most grocery stores now have plastic bag recycling bins. Since most people are already returning there anyway, it is not that hard to place the unused bags in the recycling bin. I just don't think there is any reason to feel smug when you have no clue what people are doing with their empty bags.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                    That's like defending bottled water by saying you recycle the empty bottles. It's still wasteful and in an era where everybody is preaching green, an artifact of excess that we need to move past.

                                                                                                                                                    And you'd never guess that I'm politically conservative...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                      You are what's called a "crunchy con..."
                                                                                                                                                      Lots of conservatives (and liberals and people with no particular political views) were conservationists LONG before they ever invented the word "environmentalist" and people started fighting about it.

                                                                                                                                                      It simply makes common sense to use our resources wisely. That should NOT be a political view.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                        If you reuse the bottles it is NOT wasteful. I do not use a lot of those bottles because I have great water, but do, on occasion, use them. I reuse them as little greenhouses for my garden seedlings. Let's see, I could go buy the little greenhouses or I could reuse those bottles over and over and over.

                                                                                                                                                        I think flat out ruling plastic bags, or bottles as the enviro devil is just plain thick.

                                                                                                                                                        How about, gasp, common sense?

                                                                                                                                                        And - politically conservative people are unable to appreciate the health of the environment? Come on now.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                          So, all the energy that they use to bottle and transport those bottles is not wasteful when the stuff already comes out of the faucet in your house?


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                            Using bottled water at home where you could just as well drink from the tap is wasteful, but that does not mean the bottles are a bad idea in other situations.

                                                                                                                                                            For example the 25oz pop-top water bottles that I get at TJ for $.29 fit the cup holders in my car nicely. Plus those bottles are much easier to use when driving than anything else that I've tried over the years. They are also convenient to put in the pockets of my backpack.

                                                                                                                                                            They also make sense in a office environment, or at outdoor picnics or sports events - any place where washing many cups or glasses would impractical.

                                                                                                                                                            There's even a group (based in Switzerland I think) that advocates recycling water bottles like this in village water purification projects. Laid out on a root top, sun light effectively purifies the water in the clear plastic bottles.

                                                                                                                                                            Convenience products are not for everyone or for every situation. The same could be said for your car. Driving two blocks to visit your in-laws may be wasteful, driving two days to visit your grandmother might not.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                              "They also make sense in a office environment, or at outdoor picnics or sports events - any place where washing many cups or glasses would impractical"

                                                                                                                                                              Our company is discontinuing the practice of offering bottled water and generously provided every employee a reusable plastic water bottle for use with the purified water system they already have installed. You can easily adopt a similar approach for having water in your car or in a pocket in your backpack...just saying.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                Some school districts and small cities have outlawed bottled water. None in vending machines or for use in offices, meetings, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                One office that I worked in used pitchers and glasses which we washed. That sometimes led to battles because some do not clean up after themselves but we saved a lot on cases of bottled water.

                                                                                                                                                                We had big coolers for water for sporting events and people use small paper cones. They crush to almost no bulk and then we throw them into paper recycling. This saved a lot of money for charity events.
                                                                                                                                                                McDonalds used to lend them to schools. Don't know if they still do.

                                                                                                                                                                Nothing is more maddening than doing clean-up and finding half-full water bottles everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                I thought that when the sun hits those plastic bottles with water in them, it causes cancer-causing toxins in the plastic to leach into the water?

                                                                                                                                                                I rarely use bottled water, but I like them for the gym because they don't rattle as much in the treadmill's cup-holder. But I only bought a few and I've been reusing them. Otherwise, for traveling purposes, I just bring a travel-cup of water.

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, please give poor Sal a break. He said that he didn't use a lot of them.
                                                                                                                                                                Bottled water is useful on some occasions. Just not if you make a constant habit of it.
                                                                                                                                                                And I really draw the line at those fussy waters from Fiji and The Source itself at Perrier. The amount of energy those must require to haul to my local store must be extraordinary.
                                                                                                                                                                Don't forget all those refrigerators lined up in stores, sucking electricity, just to keep that broad selection of waters chilled and ready for you to select from. Extra floor space that has to be heated/cooled and lit so that you can enjoy your choice of H20.

                                                                                                                                                                Plastic is a wonderful material that makes our lives better in so many ways but we waste so very much of it for things we don't need and could easily do without.
                                                                                                                                                                That may be a silver lining in an economic dark cloud as people tighten their belts and reexamine their spending habits.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                  I have a Brita filter at the house- I am not sure if I taste a difference but at least it is in the fridge and cold. My office, sadly, does not even provide a water cooler. I have a One liter water bottle that I refill and with tap water at work. I wish I could say refilling my water bottle was 100% about the environment, but much of it is expense- I am not about to pay five bucks a day to stay hydrated at work. I wish they did provide a bubbler bc without it, my colleagues are always running out to buy a bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                  If you'll recall, I had caveats attached to their usage. Sometimes we are not near a tap.

                                                                                                                                                                  Shall we refuse to use anything transported that we could easily get at home?

                                                                                                                                                                  I could bottle tomatoes and other veggies... can peaches for off season. There is a cut off point for everyone. The point is that if we buy convenience products or use things offered to us out of convenience, we can mitigate their down side by finding another use for their byproduct. It is not all or nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                    So - if you have a reasonable reason to use them and then reuse the bottles you still feel the need to render spankings? Pshaw!

                                                                                                                                                                    There is a place for the bottled water. Reusing the bottle is a good thing. Get over it.

                                                                                                                                                                    Not all of us are standing near a tap 24/7.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                              I agree with you meadandale. And it's sometimes a hard habit to break. Here in CA some of the grocery store chains are going to help us with that. I don't know if it's in effect yet, but some are going to charge (I believe it's) a quarter for every plastic bag you use at check out. I was telling our daughter that I have the bags in the car and frequently forget to bring them in. She lives in Seattle and said that a lot of the groceries there have a sign where you get your cart "did you remember to bring in your bags?" Good idea. I've also broken myself of the habit of automatically putting any produce in the bags in that department. If onions, peppers, etc. are sitting out, why put them in a bag? They go loose into my cart and I can put them in bags when I get home. Of course, something like salad greens is different. It took me a long time to think of this and still trying to break my husband of the habit. I don't compost because we have bear visitors. But we make so little garbage that we only have garbage pickup every other week. We recycle ALOT. We all make choices and alot of them may be different from others, but I'm glad we're all talking about it.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                The people who are going to have to work hardest to break their habits are the baggers at grocery stores. If they start charging me 5 cents a bag (as my city is planning to do) for all the wasteful extra bagging they do when they stick my groceries in the re-usable bags that I carry to the market, it's going to really tick me off.
                                                                                                                                                                The eggs go into one. The ice cream. The meat to prevent the juices from getting all over everything else. The prickly pineapple. The loaf of bread in the paper bag - to keep it dry.
                                                                                                                                                                When I got home the other day, I had at least a half dozen extra bags and sadly, there were pretty good reasons for several of them. I didn't want chicken juices on the French bread, did I???
                                                                                                                                                                Then the mushrooms, 6 lemons, and some of the other small produce really did need to be contained....

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                  I have never seen any wasteful extra bagging. If I bring in my own bags, the cashiers (I don't go to any store with separate baggers) just separate them accordingly. I've never had them put anything in extra bags and I do get frozen items, fruits, and eggs. Typically if it needs a bag, like meat, that's something I can pick up over in the produce department.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                    Check out baggu. The only thing I require plastic for, rather than these, is leaky meat/poultry.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                      My kids have some of those but I like heavier, more structured bags that protect the food better. I have a basket full of them at the back door. Different sizes, shapes, and materials that I grab depending on what I'm planning to pick up that day.
                                                                                                                                                                      Harris-Teeter has one for 6 bottles of wine that they give away free when you buy wine. They give a discount when you re-use it.
                                                                                                                                                                      The kids gave me a really neat basket for my bike that detaches to carry into the market and into the house. It has handles and then slips right into the frame on the front of the bike.

                                                                                                                                                                      This is so much easier than floppy plastic bags that tear and fall over in the car.
                                                                                                                                                                      The only time I don't do it is when I need plastic bags to line my kitchen garbage can under the sink. About 2 a week.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                    Here in MA, the whole foods have stopped using plastic bags. I have some reusable bags that I often bring with me, otherwise you get a paper bag. The problem is, that with two dogs, those plastic bags were in high demand at my house. So now I am one of those crazy people that actually buys plastic bags at the pet store.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                                                                                                      As I understand it the plastic bags from the grocery store don't biodegrade near as fast as the ones sold for pet waste... so it's not as easy on your pocketbook maybe but better for the landfill in the long run.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                        Maplesugar, that's interesting, and now I'm wondering about it because I'm in the same boat as Cassoulady- I use a combo of grocery store plastic bags and pet store bags. But why don't they make the grocery store bags out of the faster biodegradeable stuff as the pet bags?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                                                          Just a guess but probably because they're not as cheap to make. Some of the corn based biodegradable bags actually have to be kept out of the heat too... could be a problem in the warmer climes or in summer up here (Calgary Alberta).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                                                            Cost is an issue. People will spend outrageous amounts of money on their pets, who in some cases are substitute children. Have you seen the prices in some boutique pet stores?
                                                                                                                                                                            Also the corn-based bio-d products are not as strong as the plastic grocery bags which have to stand up to wet products and some heavy weights in uneven loads. They'd tear more easily which would tick off customers whose purchases would fall all over the sidewalks.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                              It does seem reasonable/understandable that the biodegradable bags are more expensive to produce, but couldn't that cost be passed on to the consumer? I mean in places where they add a 5 cent tax if you don't bring a reusable bag, why don't they just use that 5 cents to buy the bio bags? If they charge you 5 cents any way, do they then still give you the "bad" bag? So where does the 5 cents go?

                                                                                                                                                                              As for tearing more easily, I can't authoritatively speak to that, but I can anecdotally. The black, corn-based pet bags seem very sturdy whereas the regular old Safeway bags need to be double (some times triple!) bagged to support anything more than cereal.

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, and yep, I'm the outrageous pet-spender (although mostly just on medical treatments).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mjhals

                                                                                                                                                                                In jurisdictions where a "bag tax" has been imposed on consumers, the tax is collected at some point in the distribution chain. It goes to the government. Ours, currently in the City Council for approval, will supposedly be used to clean up the Anacostia River.

                                                                                                                                                                                The cost of 1000 bags is appx $9. The tax adds $50 to that, which means that the merchant has to pay $59, rather than $9 for every 1000 bags that he buys, tying up operating capital and increasing his bookkeeping costs to remit that tax to the jurisdiction, and account for it in his local, State, and Federal taxes.
                                                                                                                                                                                If the merchant charges it to consumers, that is added accounting cost to the merchant in addition to being a regressive tax which normally has a heavier impact on lower and working class consumers.
                                                                                                                                                                                That 5 cent tax has a ripple effect both on the merchants and the consumers, far beyond the value that it provides to the community.

                                                                                                                                                                                Sturdiness of "pet bags" is not much of an issue for poop, even for large dogs. I've had big dogs and their piles can be "challenging" to say the least. But you scoop 'em and get to a nearby trash can.
                                                                                                                                                                                That is nothing compared to 2 liter bottle of Coke, 28 oz cans of tomatoes, a dozen eggs, a 3-pound bag of onions, a 5-pound chicken, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                I shop at a Safeway and single bags easily handle those.
                                                                                                                                                                                Grocery and other stores would not use these bags as widely as they do if the bags were not generally satisfactory to both merchants and consumers.

                                                                                                                                                                                The bag taxes IMO are efforts to raise revenue by imposing a fee on behavior of which some people disapprove.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                Well, then the customers should bloody well bring their own cloth or other reuseable bags. In most countries people do.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                  They may be more likely to carry a shopping tote of some type, but they use them to gather up their purchases. They still use packaging, sometimes lots of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't shopped in "most" of the world's 200+ countries, but in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, I have often gotten MORE packaging of my purchases in markets and shops than in the US. That included in rural areas as well as in cities.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Small shopkeepers in particular seemed to want to protect what I bought before I placed it in the shopping bag that I did carry with me. Sometimes they wrapped things individually despite my protestations in a broken-language effort to stop them.
                                                                                                                                                                                  When we lived in Latin America, I shopped in open air markets with baskets and most foods were placed loose in them, but never in the supermarkets or specialty shops. That was true when we rented apartments in Europe too.
                                                                                                                                                                                  In Asia and Europe, some of the packaging was even quite elaborate, almost like a gift, tied up with string or ribbon and stickers, before being placed in a bag. Those shopkeepers were as proud of their packages as of their wares, and some of the pretty packaging had the stores' names printed on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Frankly, I don't want to throw some grapes or tomatoes in with a new blouse or book that I just bought. They might smash and get everything dirty. The bottle of shampoo, WD-40, or olive oil might leak.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Packaging serves a purpose. It protects my purchases until I get them home.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting... well that makes me feel better. I wish I was the person who started selling plastic bags to pet stores, I imagine they are doing well now!

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: cassoulady

                                                                                                                                                                              Another case of pandering to perception rather than reality.
                                                                                                                                                                              The eco-load of paper vs. plastic is a virtual wash with a slight edge to plastic because of the weight and bulk of paper causing more transportation miles required to move the same number of bags.
                                                                                                                                                                              A big problem with paper for food facilities is sanitation because roaches and other insects are drawn to the glues used to make them, and the paper itself - not a problem with plastic.
                                                                                                                                                                              But it keeps the greenies happy.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                Reminds me of the old mantra – “Everything in moderation”.

                                                                                                                                                                                Don’t use paper...don‘t use plastic...There are upsides and downsides either way.

                                                                                                                                                                                It seems everything’s bad when it’s over-done (kinda like a steak). I hate walking out of the grocery with seven bags for twelve items. That’s the time for a canvas bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                                                                                                  We still have the problem of the "seven bags for twelve items" in stores that have carefully trained their staff to provide good service.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I always complained when checkers and packed dumped my wet chicken on top of nice bread in the paper bag or something heavy right down on the bananas which they had stuck in the bottom of the bag for some dumb reason.
                                                                                                                                                                                  They are trained to avoid cross-contamination. Who can argue with that? Or to guard your eggs from breaking. You know that if the egg carton pops open scattering eggsr all over someone's canvas bag, they're going to hear about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Now we're at odds with stores because we don't want bags but we still want them to treat the food well.
                                                                                                                                                                                  It's expensive and I don't want it squished and destroyed. Or thrown all together without thought.
                                                                                                                                                                                  There is a legitimate time for plastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                    I like plastic ... perfect trash bags! And the kitty ... I litterally had to go to the grocery store once just to get bags because the kitty used up all the plastic bags.

                                                                                                                                                                                    And besides, all I want is a plain, unmarked canvas bag (or a couple). These days, the easiest canvas/grocery bags to find are all painted/celebrity-endorsed/designer/whatever. Why do I need to pay $35 for a grocery bag??? (And for reasons I can't fully articulate nor do they make much sense, I refuse to buy bags that have store logos splattered all over them - I'm talking about you, Whole Foods & Trader Joe's!) If I had a sewing machine, I'd totally make one.

                                                                                                                                                                                    As to the OP, not that I would buy the batter blaster but ... the idea of being able to have pancakes on a weekly basis is lovely. (Even my pancakse recipe that I love and have perfected makes 6 giant pancakes, and I can only eat one at a time.) Freezing leftover pancakes isn't ever an option for me - my only hopes of getting enough veggies into myself is all the veggies I stockpile in my tiny freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I kind of appreciate the fact that someone understands that those of us who are single and want pancakes don't necessarily want to go to a restaurant. Every recipe/whatever in this world seems to assume that I've got a husband and at least one kid to feed. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ali

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ali, you can get plain bags fairly cheaply. I got all mine at ecobags.com. Not affiliated just a happy customer.

                                                                                                                                                                                      A simple recycled cotton canvas tote is under $7/ea.


                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ali

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a terrific kitchen trash can that fits under the sink that is designed to use those grocery store plastic bags. It holds them open so they never slip down into the plastic can like regular bags can do. Love it, love it, love it.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I use canvas bags, but when I run out of plastic, I make sure I get them at the grocery. Why should I buy plastic bags that I don't need that have to manufactured to throw away?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Those bags from stores are pretty flimsy and I've stopped buying any of those. It's pretty easy to get good canvas bags from conferences and meetings and I use a lot of those.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Some charities give them as promotions when you contribute and that is a wonderful way not only to make a donation to a good cause that you believe in, but to promote the charity to others by publicizing it.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Public radio stations often offer these.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I got a solicitation this week from the USO offering a wonderful high-quality canvas bag with a tiny logo similar to LL Bean's for a minimum $10 gift. I gave more than that to an excellent charity that has been helping servicemen and women and their families for a very long time.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Try writing them at info@USO.org

                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with your attitude about convenience products. There are some things that I love but I'm the only one in my family who will eat it. I'm either doomed to eat it for what seems like the rest of my life or use some version of a convenience product, even though I am basically a scratch cook.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Increasing numbers of people live alone and these can be very useful.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe we shouldn't be quite so hard on them as a category.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                          Math isn't all that hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Most recipes can be divided successfully, down to a one-egg batch (or whatever lowest common denominator) and if you use weights it is even easier. If you really only want one pancake, it is even possible to measure less than an egg. I'd rather throw out half an egg than buy cans of spray pancake batter.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                                                                                                            babette feasts - my pancake recipes uses 1 egg and still yields 6 pancakes. Personally, I just never eat pancakes anymore unless I've got company, but I'm not opposed to the batter blaster. What is so honestly bad about it when it uses pretty decent ingredients? And didn't someone say the cans were recyclable? I've given up most of my baking thanks to living alone, and this gives me back pancakes! (Well, ostensibly. I've never actually seen these batter blaster things, and they've been around for a little while now.)

                                                                                                                                                                                            meadandale, MakingSense, queencru - thanks for the tips on the bags. I'll definitely look into them, with the winner being whichever is, sadly, most convenient. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ali

                                                                                                                                                                                              It just seems unnecessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So I guess your one pancake recipe requires only about 1-1/2 tsp of egg. Maybe switch to quail?

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ali

                                                                                                                                                                                          Ikea has some pretty bland ones from what I remember. At a minimum, they don't all have logos on them and they are really cheap.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                          Totally agree. That's why I always pack my own groceries. And why, on the rare occasions that I buy meat, I put it in one of those filmy plastic bags that you get in the fruit and veg section.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                Here in Toronto they are about to enforce that supermarkets (other stores as well maybe??) charge 5c per bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                There had been a noticeable move back to shopping bags. (those canvas things your grandmother had). All supermarkets now sell them. However there has been a definite cultural divide in terms of who uses them. The up-coming stick will definitely accelerate the process.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                  It may not be only a "cultural" divide.
                                                                                                                                                                                  There are behavioral and logistical factors that determine whether someone carries a reusable bag to the store with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Some shopping is impulse. People are out and remember that they have to pick up milk or a few things but they haven't brought their bag.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Men are less likely to carry bags because they have no place to put them unless they carry a briefcase, backpack, or other satchel. This is particularly true of working class men.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Younger people, particularly minorities, ask for bags as a sign that they have paid for their purchases because they are often accused of shoplifting.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Families who do large grocery shopping trips once a week are unlikely to carry a dozen or more reusable bags and simply pay 75 cents or more for plastic. This is particularly true when they have to drive long distances to stores for major provisioning.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                    You are right about the factors.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Personally, I alway keep about 6 bags with about 20 reusable produce sacks in the backseat of my car. I tend to do more shopping (go a few times per week rather than once every two weeks) and buy less stuff each time than I used to so the amount of stuff I buy isn't much of an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                    If I get to the front door and realize I forget my bags, I turn around and go get them. It's like putting on your seatbelt. After awhile it just becomes second nature. It's breaking people from the bad habits that is hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I won't say that disposable bags don't have their place but in the past 20 years we've come to use too many of them frivolously and that's the problem. If we can just encourage more responsible use of bags and encourage more people to eschew disposable alternatives when they CAN it will go a long way to helping with the problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                      All of those social groups also exist in Europe, and have adjusted to taking their own bags. There are also nylon bags that fit in a pocket.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                        I haven''t visited all the countries in Europe or the world but where I have visited, I'd say the majority of the people are taking the grocery store bags, whether plastic or paper. Now some of them may then put those into tote bags for ease of carrying so maybe it looks like something different than it is. When we travel, whether domestic or international, we almost always stay in apartments where we're cooking so we spend a lot of time in the grocery stores. We spent three months in Brazil and you can't even BUY plastic trash bags. You HAVE to use what they package your groceries in. And we had to laugh (ruefully of course) that they seem to put one item in one bag. Even with using them for garbage and dog poop (yes, we took our dog to Brazil) we still had vast quantities of bags. Perhaps that was when we got more focused on the fact that even being able to recycle a product doesn't take away the fact that we need to use less.

                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW, I am so enjoying this thread. There are so many informed people here who are teaching me a lot. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you look at older pictures of open air markets, in Europe or South America, you will see lots of baskets. Smaller baskets carried by the lady of the household doing daily shopping, large wicker ones carried by a servant or porter.

                                                                                                                                                                                          But plastic bags have become every bit as popular in other countries as in the US. And littering has become an equally large problem, to the point that some countries (even China, I believe) are trying to limit their use. The use of resources in producing the bags (reflected in the penny a bag cost), and the space they take in landfills are minor problems compared to the littering one.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I find it interesting that clerks in Asian groceries often have a different way of bagging groceries. In particular they are much more likely to tie a knot in the handles of the plastic bags. Even produce bags get tied up, using the corners of the bags (which I usually can't duplicate).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                            Speaking of asian grocery stores and bags...

                                                                                                                                                                                            I was in an asian market here in San Diego and was just buying 3 packages of panko flakes. I told the guy "no bag" since I could carry them out in my hand. I went in knowing this was all I was getting and so didn't bring one of my canvas bags into the store.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Long story short, the clerk REFUSED to give me the merchandise unless he put it into a plastic bag. I tried to resist but felt the eyes of the other half dozen people in line burning into my back and relented.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Now I always bring in a bag...

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                              In rural areas of the developing world, they often wrap things in very thin plastic that is not fabricated into bags or in cheap quality paper.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Sometimes the paper is "recycled" into toilet paper.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                              Plastic bags are the global norm. Twenty years ago in India, people took their cooked food packets away wrapped in banana leaves that they tossed when done. The urban cows would eat the discarded wraps.

                                                                                                                                                                                              If you drive along beautiful rugged desert coast of Peru, the foreground is always ruined by discarded plastic bags - some now up to decades old.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The monsoons take tons and tons of plastic bags and used up flip-flops across the Indian Ocean from SE Asia to the eastern African coast, causing problems for marine wildlife there. The WWF has a flip-flop art project to help Kenyans turn trans-oceanic flip flops into art sold to tourists in Nairobi and Mombasa.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've also read that drinks such as tea used to be sold on Indian trains in cheap clay cups, which were then tossed out the window. Wonder what future archaeologists would make of those pottery shards?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You might have read that from one of my replies. I always loved that part of the train trips - from Calcutta to Cuttack in eastern India or from Rangoon to Mandalay, for example. The tea wallahs would get on at the stops, sell you a cup of tea in a low fired clay cup. You would throw it out the window when done - anywhere from the station to about a km down the line.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                                      Plastic shopping bags are all I use for garbage bags. I use reuseable cloth bags about half the time, and the rest of the time I ask for plastic bags from the store because I know I'll need them for garbage. If my city banned plastic shopping bags I would have to start purchasing garbage bags, which I think is super-wasteful. I'm sure the crappy plastic bags I get from the grocery store take up less space and resources than heavy-duty garbage bags...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                                                                                        This is another strange thing about North America. Many people put their garbage in a bag before putting it in a bin. Never could get my head round that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                          I will tell you why we do this. It is so when the trash man comes and empties your trash into the compactor all the little papers and what nots do not fly everywhere, trash juice does not go everywhere and you poor trash collector is not sliced and diced by stray can lids and flying pickle jars. We do it out of cleanliness and courtesy.

                                                                                                                                                                                          You will also find your trash can stays cleaner and relatively fresh smelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                            In addition to having to put the garbage out either the night before scheduled pickup OR the morning of, and you have no idea when they'll be there.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Animals (dogs, cats, raccoons, rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks...WHATEVER!) can dig into the bag while it's out there (if you don't use a hard plastic garbage can, which I don't because I usually only have one 13 gal. sized bag of garbage a week).

                                                                                                                                                                                            My trashmen can show up at 7am for recycling and then another round at 3pm or later for actual garbage pickup....but then again, on non-recycling weeks, they've picked up the garbage at 7:45 before I've left for work!

                                                                                                                                                                                            But I'm not sure what Paulustrious means by "a bin" as to where he disposes of his garbage. I see that he's in Toronto - do you all just put all garbage into the large garbage can without any bag to contain it?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                              It comes down to what your garbage pickup company wants. Based on 'Dirty Jobs' episodes, some cities like San Francisco and NY (at least for some neighborhoods) all garbage goes into bags, not cans. Crews pick those from the alleys and curbs (or even building hallways), and carry them out to the truck. Elsewhere the driver uses a mechanical arm of some sort to dump the can, or dumpster into the truck. With mechanical dumping like that, loose garbage could leave quite a mess behind. The use of garbage disposals and trash compactors will also alter the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree that loose garbage could cause a major problem - which is why I'm still not sure what Paulustrious means. It makes *sense* to put garbage into bags prior to putting it in a garbage can, doesn't it? Yet he seemed curious as to the fact that we Americans put our garbage into a bag before putting it into a dumpster or garbage can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our trash company uses trucks with the mechanical arms on them, and in order to empty the cans, the arms flip them totally upside down into a chute on the top of the truck. Consequently, the instructions from the waste-haulers are that if it fits inside a standard large kitchen trash bag, it's supposed to be placed into one before you put it into your big trash bin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  On the other hand, you're not supposed to bag recyclables before putting them out in the small recycling bin because there's an actual person who needs to do a quick sort through of the contents before putting them into the truck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes - sorry about the use of the word bin. It UK for trash can. We have four types of waste collection here; recyclable, household / food waste, garbage and plant. I compost so don't use the so-called green bin (food waste) for most of the year. I live in Raccoon Central. My composter has high sides and they climb in and rummage round. All the mess they make is inside the composter. Works for me anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We also have these trucks that pick up the whole cannister in a pair of pincers and dump it in the top of the truck. So no - I don't use supermarket plastic bags to put garbage in. It goes straight in the trashcan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Same goes for stray lids and pickle jars - they go straight in the recycle bin, which also get lifted by pincer arms and dumped in the top. In general I refuse (no pun intended) plastic bags in shops as I usually carry a back pack when shopping. Much more comfortable than having a thin plastic handle digging into your fingers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The large blue 1$ Ikea bags are excellent for shopping. So much easier to fill then a plastic bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And by sheer coincidence the bin-men or dustmen (both UK terms) are outside my house now.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We know all about dustmen in the US - at least those of us who have watched My Fair Lady :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Paulustrious - I *like* the idea that your food waste gets put into a bin without plastic. Although don't the bins get nasty-smelling? So you collect your food waste in a bowl of some sort and then just dump it into the food waste bin?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In Bristol (UK) we are told/encouraged to wrap food waste in paper and put the paper packets in the 'food bin'. The council also collects cardboard, cans, glass, clothes, shoes, batteries, paper, paint, oil..... the only thing they don't collect is plastic as the fuel it takes to drive round picking it up makes it uneconomical. (there are plastic collection points round the city for plastic disposal). All this is collected every week; any remaining rubbish is collected every 2 weeks. They collect garden waste too, but charge for that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I rarely have even one full bag of non-recyclable rubbish a fortnight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We are charged for all collection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We are charged for everything by means of a local tax paid by each household - the garden waste collection is additional of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Peg

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Peg. Wrapping it in paper makes sense. I'm amazed at the recycling of shoes, clothes, batteries, paint, and oil! Shoes and clothes we usually just bring to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (drop off ourselves). And batteries, paint and oil all have specialized recycling in the States - usually certain locations you can bring them for recycling. But definitely not a pickup at the curb (at least not in New England).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We do have plastic pickup - codes 1-7 in my area. It can be put in the recycling bin with glass, paper, aluminum, tin, and cardboard. I guess it's all sorted at the recycling center. Although I'm not sure about napkins and paper towels in my area (whether they'd be included in the "paper" recycling). I should definitely ask.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the info - interesting to see how recycling is done outside of your own area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In Japan, some areas have as many as 15+ recycling categories and you have to do it right or else your neighbors are likely to return your bags. In my neighborhood we had burnable, non-burnable, glass/aluminum, plastic, cardboard, and battery. Most were once a week except burnable, and battery just had containers you could use at the trash pickup points.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just for information: They make a composter that is a self contained raccoon proof barrel. You dump your goodies in and I think there is a chemical decomposer or something you dump in on occasion. You turn it with a crank. I do not use one since, for some reason, the raccoons do not get into our compost (we do not put egg shells into it - that may be part of it).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          As far as the garbage goes - we still bag it in the house in large trash bags, tie the top and deposit in the can for the street. It is just cleaner and safer for our waste collector. We do not have a raw food collection. Lord knows what the dingbats would do to that. Here they ruin the glass drop off at our grocery by depositing their trash into it. Here we get regular trash, seasonal yard waste and a recycling (plastic, paper and aluminum only) - glass at drop offs. Some people burn their trash out here. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have no problem with raccoons getting in in my composter. They don't make any mess as they do their chowing inside. As far as I am concerned it speeds up the return of food stuffs to nature. And they are interesting to watch, the interactions, the pecking order, their signals and so on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My composter was sold as racoon proof. They ate right through the plastic sides. The solution was to remove the lid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It seems strange to me too but whenever I would not use a bag, the can smelled and had to be washed out often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, we live in the mountains where not only do we NOT have trash pick-up and not only are we required at the dump (yes, we haul our trash to the dump on our own, in our car) to have our trash bagged, we are also expected to never leave trash outside in a bin. If we do, we are inviting not just bears (meat, dairy, fruit) but lions (if there is any meat or dairy in the trash). There are also the zillions of ground rodents, raccoons and foxes as well as the entire neighborhood of free roaming dogs. Yeah, not fun when the holiday cabin renter forgets and invites a dog-killing or building-damaging bear into our little area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sadly, we aren't really able to compost either. I compost garden stuff but I can't compost anything like fruit scraps, peels, seeds or the bears come-a-knockin'!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hopefully it doesn't read or sound as if I'm harping, I just thought it worth mentioning that there are limits based on region, not just habits based on culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And, now that I'm on a roll, there hadn't been a bear-in-the-trash for about three years when the guy down the block decided to store his rubbermaid in the shed. His shed was destroyed by a bear. Thanks neighborhood guy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, my feelings towards the rest of this topic vary widely. I hate waste and have even stopped buying bagged snacks like corn chips or my old favourites "anything" by Terra chips. Oh, those no-salt-added sweet potato chips...yum! Why stop eating something so danged old delicious? Because the bags do not recycle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My guy can make anything out of just about any kind of plastic, you know like plarn (yarn made by hand from old bags), wallets and the like. For that matter, any kid in my neighborhood can too. But, sometimes I just have to consider others, the views of others, the needs of others and the smaller picture. Yes, I usually like to look at the bigger picture but sometimes I look at things differently. Not everyone is willing to give up a favourite treat because the packaging doesn't recycle. Not everyone sees the environment through my eyes. Not everyone agrees on the state of our environment regardless of numbers, statistics or any evidence for or against. Not everyone things that putting trash in a bin means they'll still have trash, it just won't be there for them to see. And, not everyone knows or cares about where our trash goes, what does or does not leach into the ground water blah blah blah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not going to buy batter blaster. I'm not going to buy individually wrapped prunes or cheese sliced. I do, however, find that they have their uses. I've posted on here before about my father's ability to cook post-stroke. He needs some things to be done by he and he alone--completing normal life-tasks keeps him happy and feeling able. He also survives on little conveniences that make regular life possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mainly, I've changed a lot over my life and I always TRY to stay open to everything to the best of my ability. One of my most important-to-remember quotes (anonymous I think) is:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Whenever I am feeling imposed on, I vow with all beings to recall that interdependence means for others, the other is me."
                                                                                                                                                                                                      This means different things to me at different times. One meaning that I am feeling right now is to not judge others. Yes, I judge others. I TRY not to, I don't mean to, I prefer not to but when I find myself doing so, I tell myself to stop. I just stop judging or comparing and see the other for who they are or for who they have shown themselves to be. I don't need to go beyond that. This really helps me when I start thinking "why do they?" or "what for?" Ya know what, I don't have to know, no one has to explain themselves or justify themselves to me and I don't have to see the other's choice, reason, belief system in a way that compares or relates to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do think that a lot of "convenience foods" and "convenience packaging" are just the tools of corporations to make money. And, why not? People and corporations are in business to make money, not to spend tons of investment money developing an idea, machinery to make and package the idea and to pay for the marketing and advertising just to lose money because the idea didn't take. If the marketing company tells a manufacturer that the idea will turn a bigger profit if packaged a certain way, then there it is, success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have no idea why I'm writing so much. Must be that late afternoon cup of tea. Wow, this is like a novel...sorry! I guess I have lots of opinions!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I use regular garbage bags in my kitchen and grocery store bags everywhere else. I also use them to take in my lunch, pack toiletries in when I am going on a trip, etc. There are many uses for plastic bags to be reused. It's only if you are just throwing them away immediately after you buy the groceries that I think they are wasteful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I use them to line small waste cans and for the trash when camping. Love those little buggers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I use them for cat litter "recycling" (the clumping kind). They are the PERFECT size for a household with two cats who don't go outside. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I often wondered what that face was that some people cop while having their groceries loaded into those bags they buy. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you want to kick it up a notch, you can make your own bags from old t shirts. You can fit a bundle into a big canvas one you use to hold heavier items. True recycling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Water from the tap. How novel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Or you could go the other direction and buy a 1000 unit box of 't-shirt bags' from Samsclub ($10), and wear those each day! They are '# 100% recyclable'


                                                                                                                                                                                                        Large garbage bags make good emergency rain coats as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Large garbage bags make good emergency rain coats as well."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Indeed they do. Industrial sized/strength ones can fit over you and your backpack and resist getting snagged by stray path crossing branches as you make fast for the car.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My husband started using small trash bags as covers for his shoes when fording streams. I think that is pure genius.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: meadandale

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe they don't care about the environment? While I try to be environmentally minded, my reasons for selecting certain organic products are largely independent from my environmentalism: I simply have to avoid a good number of artificial agents in my diet due to a chronic autoimmune disease that is exacerbated by a lot of things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Okay, so obviously everyone's pretty touchy about the whole organic pancakes in a can issue, on both sides. But how about this: in my grocery store, next to the Batter Blaster there is Cappuccino Foam in a Can. Make some coffee, squirt some foam on - boom! Instant Cappuccino. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Cebca

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cappuccino foam is expensive fluff regardless of how you buy or make it - whether from a can, a barrista, or a $500 brass boiler with a flying eagle on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cebca

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ding, ding, ding!! We have a winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did you make that up?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                                                                                                                NOPE. They come in Vanilla or "Natural Milk" flavors and the can claims it can be served cold or hot. The can also claims that it has zero fat and zero calories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cebca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I just knew there had to be a thread about this stuff heehee http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/364468

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I have seen individually shrink wrapped potatoes sold for baking, with directions printed on the package. That actually really makes me angry, so ridiculously wasteful. I also find bags of cut up apples really stupid. How hard is it cut an apple?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And while I have been known to buy a bottle of water when I am out and I get thirsty, I get really upset when I see people loading up their shopping cart with cases of bottled water. Does every bit of water they drink have to come from a 12 oz plastic bottle?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: manraysky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't seen those shrink-wrapped potatoes in a while. I did try them once or twice, and they do work, but I nuke my potatoes nekked now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hopefully these cut up fruits and veggies, individually wrapped, will be a starting point for people trying to eat better. Once they get used to that, maybe they'll move up to buying the produce whole and eating it that way, or cutting it up themselves. Some people have harder habits to break: eating fast food or vending machine candy bars, etc, so the easy-access to fruits and veggies packaged and offered much the same way is a good stepping stone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The individually wrapped potatoes seems a little silly, but in a way that makes a little sense, too. People who are more likely to order french fries to go, or buy a bag of tater tots or pre-prepared potatoes might find the convenience and quantity of the shrink-wrapped potato to be a good substitute. Once they read the instructions and journey down the road of food and cooking discovery, they could opt for regular potatoes--but if they're grocer doesn't sell individual unwrapped potatoes (mine usually only sells bags), i could see why a person who only has themselves or maybe one other to cook for would continue to buy the individually wrapped ones. I would. Because I remember all too well what became that half a bag of forgotten potatoes. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: manraysky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My kids won't eat those pre-cut apples, they say they taste funny...which is probably the calcium ascorbate. One brand, "AppleSweets" promotes their 21 day shelf life ick! And they come in assorted flavors *shudder* frankenfruit.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: manraysky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Does every bit of water they drink have to come from a 12 oz plastic bottle?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let's see if we can come up with a charitable explanation for their purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Like it is their turn to supply water for the little league team?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Making Sense made the comment upthread about bringing a large water cooler. Makes WAY more sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        still have to provide cups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've never had to deal with the issue, so can't really say what the trade offs are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For camping, I've move more toward the reusable-disposable water containers. While I have a 3 gallon water can, and various Nalgen bottles, I've shifted to using 50oz disposable bottles, and few 25oz ones for every day use. The smaller bottles pack easier, and don't slosh around. I can put some in out of the way places as an emergency supply. You could say I prefer not to keep all my eggs in one basket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The rectangular plastic bottles that fruit juice (whether sweetened with apple juice or HFCS) comes in, pack in the cooler well. So I save them, fill them with water and freeze them. Later in the trip, when the ice has melted, I can use the bottles for more water, or toss them if I have too many.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I believe that it is possible to use convenience items, and still be frugal, both with my money, and with my environmental footprint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In some cases the trade off is similar to that faced by businesses - when do you invest in capital goods (property, machinery, etc), and when do you rent or lease?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When does it make sense to buy things (pots and pans, kitchen tools, storage containers) that last a life time, and when is it better to buy things that only last a short time (or even just one use)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not only will the life-time item cost me more (in most cases), it will also takes up space. If you have a house with garage and basement, you can afford to accumulate lots of long-lasting items - until the day you move to the nursing home. Others can't afford to accumulate a lot of belongings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Speaking of accumulation. I will confess that we could reforest a whole country's cork forest with the stockpile of corks my husband has stored in the basement. I say nothing because I have a scarily giant collection of glass jars where the full bottles of wine one laid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cork is insulating. I guess we could say we are storing them as insulation and heat keeping. No joke - we have enough corks to probably fill a master bedroom floor to ceiling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              there are so many uses for old wine corks! Trivets, floor mats, grind them and add them to planting soil for water retention, keep a jar full of corks soaked in rubbing alcohol for fire starters, etc........I could have a field day in your basement!!! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nkeane

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seriously what is this fire starting cork thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I sent about 500 corks thru a chipper of sorts. My husband nearly had a stroke. I am afraid I will come home one day and find all the walls to our basement covered with wine corks. He seems to want to do that, yet he will not relinquish a box of them for his aunt to make wreaths out of. I have to sneak mail them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If I accidentally gave away any of his special corks (like the wine from our honeymoon or anniversaries) I am not sure what would happen. He keeps a mental tally - or so he insists. It is a sickness. we may have to add on to the house to accommodate the corks. I am envisioning something akin to one of those quick erect steel built jobbies they advertize for insta churches and warehouses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Since the trend now, even with very expensive wines, is away from cork and towards screwtop and other ways to seal bottles, he should probably be allowed to keep his current collection because it's not going to get a lot larger. Poor baby :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    well, I guess you would need a fireplace or some other need(other than insurance fraud or plain old arsony) to regularly start a fire, but.........
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    take a wide mouth jar and fill it with wine corks and pour rubbing alcohol into the jar til its full. Put the lid on it and in a few days they are ready to use! one or two of them under some kindling will start a fire every time, extra useful when camping and everything is a bit damp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nkeane

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am going to do this! We camp a lot and it is damp most of the year. We also have a fire pit on the backside of our farm, it would be really nice to have an easy fire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you so much!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      C Oliver - if you happen to read this: He is depressed over that turn of events. I think he still collects them. He does it on the QT. Now screw caps??? He might draw the line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Howsabout frozen crustless PBJ's and single serve nukable hot dogs. I have seen these items in the freezer case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Individually bottled water in shrink wrap then double bagged in plastic bags...argh!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. What really upsets me and I see everywhere these days are tiny heads of lettuces that are sold in big, solid plastic clamshell containers that are just too flimsy to be reusable. What a hideous waste... I'd venture to say that there's as much plastic as lettuce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. i have noticed a lot of this lately. it feels like there's a war between getting consumers to be more green (concentrated detergent, environmentally friendly cleaning products, etc.) and producing more and more packaging.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              one goes to any supermarket and sees more individually wrapped portions, surrounded by two layers of packaging.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and what about all of this plastic, has no one heard of BPA?granted BPA is supposed to only be in certain "types" of plastic, but I can guarantee none of it should be heated to a high temp in contact with food.