I watch a couple of cafe vlogs on YouTube for relaxation. One is focused on making hot and cold coffee drinks while the other features gorgeous bread and sandwiches.
The preparation of all these nice food entertain me – the sounds, colors, ingredients, and attention to detail are inspiring – but there is one aspect to this process that digs at my soul every time: the prolific use of plastic.
As an amateur, occasional shopkeeper myself, I cannot imagine how these owners and employees are not unsettled by all this. What do they think about plastic pollution and how do they deal with the fact that each piece, with their name on it, will remain on Earth long after they are gone? The higher their sales, the more they contribute to the plastic problem. How is this normal and acceptable?
I showed the videos to Markus. He said everything is perfect if not for the plastic eyesore. The problem is the plastic packaging complement the food perfectly. It fits the display and makes everything more attractive.
On our end, we take the washing gladly, and if we really have to, use biodegradable plastic. It is made from cassava but the packaging is matte and not see-through, which is an important aspect of selling food. We tried to think of alternatives to the boxes and containers with clear packaging that most shops use but we were stumped.
Especially where we live, sustainable options are limited, not to mention expensive. Often, the more available products are at best, green-washed, which is just more frustrating.
Do you have good ideas? We do not use plastic with our food per se but would like to learn more about this subject. I do not even know enough about the cassava packaging in terms of how long and under what conditions it will degrade.
Our best idea, apart from watching a different cafe vlog, is not easy nor scalable so far: a couple of weeks ago, we helped my Aunt package food to share with the community using banana leaves:
It was not a simple process and we worried the pansit, the noodle dish, will explode inside the brown bags as the person tries to pull it out. Or maybe we just need to improve our wrapping technique?
We certainly have no shortage of banana leaves, and left without a choice, we would still choose this method despite the inconvenience because it will help us sleep better at night.
We would love to hear your thoughts if you have other ideas on how to steer from plastic food packaging while highlighting the best aspects of food. We feel it is important to discuss this because our individual choices make a difference and it is through awareness that we are able to move forward in the right direction. Help!