Although Thanksgiving is among my favorite holidays, it is also one of the most wasteful days of the year. From cans to turkey bones, there is no shortage of items to be tossed. On this Thanksgiving, I monitored my family's waste patterns throughout the day. Surprisingly, we recycled far more than we threw in the trash. However, there are still plenty of leftovers. Only time will tell if the rest of Mom's famous stuffing ends up in a landfill or if the disposable Tupperware containers make it to the recycling bin. Through my observations, I learned what a significant role packaging plays in the amount of waste that is produced. As Susan Strasser analyzed in Waste and Want, since the manufacturing boom of the 20th century, a growing number of foods are being sold in packages. Producers do this for a number of reasons. Packages help to prevent contamination, lengthen the shelf lives of goods, make transportation easier, and because every can looks the same, the platonic ideals circling through our heads--whether it's the perfect kernel of yellow sweet corn or a bowl of Campbell's nostalgic chicken noodle soup--are upheld. These benefits, however, all come at a cost. One of the greatest consequences of manufacturing food--as can be seen in the pictures I took--is that we are left with mass amounts of waste, much of which will reside in landfills for centuries to come.
Pictures Taken: 11/22/12
Location: Lake Geneva, WI