I write letters….

Dear Canada Safeway:

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to your Ambrosia from the deli. Eating it is a heavenly experience; the subtle creamy texture with soft marshmallows and fruit is divine. I love squishing the mini marshmallows through my teeth as I savour the flavour of this delicacy.

There is a problem though and it is a big one. You see the only way to buy your Ambrosia is in plastic containers. Now, this would not be an insurmountable issue if one could simply bring in the containers to re-use them. I posed this question to my friendly Safeway deli clerk and she said it was not possible. Apparently, your company is more concerned about possible cross-contamination and then someone getting sick. I said what if I was prepared to sign a release saying that I wouldn’t sue you if I got sick because I used my own container. She said no such thing existed.

So, Safeway, it would appear we have a conundrum. I want to buy your product but I don’t want to buy it in the containers you sell it. I am sure you are aware of the scourge of plastic in our society. If you believe it is not possible to refill containers, why don’t you look at changing your packaging all together? Does it all have to be plastic? You have an opportunity here to be a real leader. What about switching to wax lined cardboard? I am sure there are many more options than plastic.

I am hoping that my letter will prompt a change to your corporate packaging. I know this won’t happen immediately but I am hoping it will happen. I will not be purchasing your Ambrosia forever in plastic. Here is the thing – Safeway is not the closest grocery store to my house so if I don’t go to Safeway because of your Ambrosia then, I am likely to take my shopping dollars elsewhere.

I would like to know your opinion on the issue of plastic in your packaging. Are there plans afoot to reduce the amount of it in your deli? Don’t forget, this is a chance for you to show good corporate leadership. Also, please remember: plastic is forever.



From the Swamp

Stainless Steel Straws

Ever since I was hospitalized in November of 2009, I have had a thing for straws. I use straws in all of my drinks. If I have them to go I take a straw for those ones too. Don’t ask me why but I like straws. For a while I was pretty good about re-using them but that got old fast. On a normal work day I would go through about 4 straws a day. I would have one in my ensure thermos on the way to work and one in my tea. I would use one at work for cold drinks and then one more when I got home. All of that added up to an astonishing 1460 straws per year! Clearly unsustainable.

I was reading a blog called Plastic Manners. I am not sure how I came across it. I found a lot of the information there quite compelling. First there are all of the plasticy chemicals going into my system when I used a straw. I can only imagine how many were released when I used the straw for hot tea. Then the other thing that really got me is the fact that plastic does not breakdown in landfills. Recycling it is better but only marginally. All of this got me thinking about the amount of plastic in my world. Everywhere I look I see plastic. Whether it is my frozen mugs for pop or the toothbrush or all the plastic packaging on just about everything you buy. Plastic is everywhere. It would not surprise me if one day all of the plastic in the world melted and encased us in our own stupidity.

The problem with plastic is that is so damn useful. Different types of plastics for different things. It is so versatile too. I look at my NeilMed Sinus Rinse bottle – it is made of a very pliant, soft plastic so that it can be easily squeezed. Staying in the shower, our body wash from the Body Shop is in a much harder plastic bottle that makes it hard to squeeze. How would we get all of our shower products if it were not for plastic?* Our cooking utensils are plastic so they don’t scrape our teflon coated pans. We are literally drowning in chemicals.

So, taking one step at a time,** I have ditched the plastic straws for stainless steel ones. The ones I ordered were a bit too long so Lynn cut them down a little for me. So far so good. I like my stainless steel straws. If you want some you can get them from noplastics.ca. They have other items as well. I may start to slowly cull some of the plastic containers I use for lunch. Or something to replace the little ziploc bag I put 2 pieces of bread in and then throw it out after. I am also trying to be a little bit more conscious about microwaving food in plastic containers. I didn’t use to think this was a problem now I do. Who knows maybe my health problems will improve a little with a little less plasticy goodness entering my body.

*I know you can get some of it in bars from Lush.
**Because honestly in my world that is all I can manage.