Monday, November 19, 2007

A Taste for Trash

This photo, once again from the hated SLVR L-7 cameraphone, doesn't do it justice, but what I'm attempting to capture here in terms of abstractist, high-altitude. turbulence is the sheer amount of packaging waste I received along with my $5 United Airlines 'Right Bite' SnackBox.

What you're seeing is the equivalent, in branded plastic detritus, of the shells of half a dozen Maryland blue crabs which would take 45 minutes and hundreds of hammer strokes to eat. Yet I devoured the paltry volume of food (when compared to the ample volume of petroleum-based packaging) that produced an equal amount of rubbish in a little less than two minutes.

Served in its own shrink-wrapped paper box, this 'all natural, all high-energy, all delicious' ode to superfluous packaging contains:
  • Bumblebee® SensationsTM Lemon & Pepper Seasoned Tuna Medley
  • Late JulyTM Organic Crackers
  • Wild GardenTM Hummus
  • Stacy's® Multigrain Baked Pita Chips
  • Fino Selections Gouda cheese slice
  • Newman's Own® organic California raisins
  • Mini-Toblerone®
  • Napkin
  • 'Silverware'
  • 'Moist' Toilette
I took mine with a cup of Starbucks coffee and was immediately swimming in my own trash heap. Apart from the abundance of garbage that literally exploded from the relatively tidy package I received from the stewardess, I was also impressed that not an inch of it was unbranded. So the accusation of it being completely senseless packaging, is dampened somewhat laughably by the fact that each and every bit of packaging is dual-purpose: a.) sterile food delivery receptacle and b.) advertising space. Remember, the only good thing the history books say about the Indians is that they used every bit of the buffalo.

Now, even as we speak, in the wind-whipped vastness of the Pacific Ocean churns the Great Pacific Trash Vortex. It feeds on our plastics and adds to it bulk like a black hole. By credible scientific estimates it is twice as wide as Texas and indestructible since plastics can persist forever at the molecular level.

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