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Thursday, 25 October 2012
Old school rice packaging


Seeing this quaintly packaged rice recently got me thinking: is cotton more environmentally friendly than plastic for this kind of food packaging? Is it healthier? Could the cotton sack be reused and/or recycled? How much energy and waste goes into making different types of packaging? Perhaps there are other, more environmentally friendly materials the bags could be made from, such as hemp. After all modern cotton production requires high levels of pesticide.

The thing is we don’t have that information, and so we don’t know the full cost to us of our products and packaging, including the environmental costs and the cost of dealing with the waste removal or recycling. And so, because information is “hidden”, there is not a free market - perfect information (for buyers and sellers) is one of the preconditions of a free market.

I did do some rudemenary investigations of this product, and the company told me

we use cotton bags suitable for food of kg 1, 2  and 5. We buy these bags from an italian textile company.
We suggest you to cook our  rice with mushrooms or with saffron or with shrimps and cooked ham.

This wasn’t unsolicited advice. I had asked them for advice on recipes and they have also actually offered to fax me some recipes. Well I did mention that they are old school… I haven’t had a fax machine in over a decade. I will have to go up into ye olde attic and dust off my fax to email service.

Posted by bigblue on 25/10/2012 at 07:58 AM
Filed under: EuropeUnited KingdomEngland • (1) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

Is cotton more environmentally friendly than plastic?
Both cotton and plastic have high transportation costs.  The degrading of both can be problematic.  There has been quite a bit of spin about plastic being more environmentally friendly, and one does not now know who to believe. What about the question: does it providing lasting utility?  Plastic bags can be reused as bin liners.  Cotton bags can be reused for centuries. 
It is better for the environment to reuse plastic bags as bin liners because that avoids the cost of producing a new plastic bag. Reusing cotton bags, or the cotton of the bag, avoids the cost of producing a substitute many times over (as many times as the cotton is reused).

Posted by flank  on  26/10/2012  at  09:59 PM

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