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Not using tin foil and plastic wrap

I read chowhound regularly, it's one of my browser favorites and I just clicked on Chow tips to see the video on how to use the wok as a smoker. Cool idea.

But...I have a huuuge problem with the amount of aluminum foil that was used in the demo. This made me think about my own use of foil and plastic wrap. While I keep these items in my kitchen drawer, I find I rarely use them. For leftovers and even when we are out to a restaurant where there might be a doggiebag, I'll use a glass/plastic container. As consumers, I find we use too much packaging materials that just go straight to the landfill and if I can do something to mitigate this, I will try.

Am I the only one who's such a miser?

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  1. Thank you for bringing this up. No, you are not a miser and not only one that see it as a problem. It is not to say don't use foil or plastic wrap but just be more conscience on how much we waste and discard.

    1. I have had the same roll of tin foil for the last 4 years - it is a catering size one but I rarely use it preferring tupperware or similar. I refuse to buy plastic wrap. I frequently just put the pan and lid in my fridge if I know I am going to reheat something the next day such as a soup or stew. With plated items I will just use a supermarket bag and wrap the plate in the bag if it will be reused the next day such as lasagne left overs.

      I abhor waste but grew up in the 60s and 70s so it was kinda drummed into me by environmentalists even then!

      1. I think the amount of packaging in goods sold at retail is a HUGE problem. I think using a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil a few times a week isn't much of a problem at all.

        I am especially annoyed with the plastic packaging (I don't know the name of the plastic) where you have to get a scissors or a knife and risk a serious wound just to get the item out of the plastic. You know the material I'm talking about, where the edges are crimped. The problem with getting the manufacturers to stop using it is because it is so easy for them to use and it is effective in protecting the merchandise.

        5 Replies
        1. re: John E.

          The rigid blister/bubble packaging you are thinking about is PETG, the same stuff that is used to make pop bottles (I'm in Canada.) If I ever buy anything in this stuff, I always toss the packaging in the recyclables bin, hoping that is will be converted correctly. But yeah, I often see how the final product is dwarfed by the protective casing it can come in.

          On the topic of buying stuff I remember getting a set of cutlery and noted the excessive packaging. It was a 40-piece set with a glossy cardboard box containing four or five pieces each in a polybag, which was either rubber-banded or taped; then the display set was twist-tied to the front. Lots of little bits went into the garbage at the end. I emailed one of the store owners expressing my concern and his response was that he couldn't do anything about it, that this was how it comes from his supplier. Very disappointing.

          1. re: neighborguy

            I'm the accountant for a saddle shop (yep, I bet that is the 1st time that phrase has ever been on CH !!! :) ) Most of the hardware we use is made here in the US, but the little amount of stuff that we buy from a US suppler that is manufactured in China is all individually plastic wrapped. We specifically asked our supplier that it NOT be wrapped, but according to our supplier it would cost more. Our supplier doesn't like it either. Incidentally, the really high end hardware we purchase most is hand made here in the US and sent to us in VERY "recycled" cardboard boxes in obviously "recycled" WalMart bags. Gotta love the packaging!!!!!

            I use the tiniest amounts of plastic wrap for wrapping veggies. I bought the "industrial size" package from Costco at least 6 years ago. I think I'm finally running out. The rolls of foil from Costco were too wide so I get mine from 99 cents only. I most often use foil to cover resting meat off the grill, but I then reuse the foil to wrap the leftovers.

          2. re: John E.

            You need to get yourself one of those Spyderco knives with the jagged edges. They go through that stiff plastic packaging like it was semi-soft cheese!

            1. re: Pipenta

              I've been using a box cutter lately.

              1. re: Pipenta

                I have a knife like that. My brother is a cop and carries one on duty to cut through seatbelts if he has to. Several years ago I accidently had it in my carryon bag when I flew to Arizona. I didn't discover it until a few days after I got there and I found it in my luggage.

            2. i haven't watched the video, but i imagine there are ways to do it that don't generate so much waste. as PBSF said, you're not alone...and you're not a "miser." it's a sad state of affairs - and a testament to our culture's appetite for all manner of excessive consumption - when one categorizes a simple conscientious desire to limit their wastefulness as a negative attribute.

              this topic has come up for discussion on occasion, and many of us do what we can to cut back on wasteful practices - bring our own containers to restaurants for leftovers, reuse foil, reuse bags or containers for bulk and deli items at the supermarket (if our stores allow it), re-purpose cooking oil and water, and perhaps the most obvious one, shop with canvas grocery bags...

              1. nope, i use my reusable containers whenever possible. the only time we use foil is when DH is grilling, and even then I'll remind him that it's not necessary. sometimes he beats me to the punch, but I'm trying to break his foil habit, lol.
                i've had the same roll of plastic wrap for years - actually didn't buy it, the MIL gave it to DH when he was still single! (we've been married 12 years and ended up with about 8 rolls of plastic wrap when we combined our pantries - weird MIL lol)