Pouches, plastic bags and more pouches

4:45 PM

Clearing up my fridge from all the sour milk pouches that ccumulated while my boyfriend was away made me think of my first impression on food packaging here in India.

Those of you who are not familiar with India must already wonder what milk pouches are or if you really read the word "Pouch".
Yep, you indeed did read pouch, and that is exactly what it is. The first time I saw one of those I was puzzled myself. That's how fresh milk is packaged over here, and you can't keep this milk more than two days when stored in a fridge. It's the cheapest milk you can buy and it's  usually sold in 1/2 litres pouches (I've seen 1 litres one too).
In our case, the milk man deliver a pouch each morning. When dbf is here it's usually gone in the day because of all the Indian Chai (Tea Chai) we drink together. But when I'm alnone I don't bother to make Chai and pouches accumulate themselves in the fridge. Once a pouch has been opened you need to store the leftover in a bottle and boil any milk that is more than a day old before drinking it. In fact, boiling it often tells you if it's already sour or not.
Of course, the classic milk carton exist here...for one litre only, but this milk is generally over pasteurized desinfected, fat free and really expensive, so no thanks, not for me.

In two weeks in India, I came to learn that not only milk comes in plastic pouches. Rice, salt, sugar, flour, lentils, laundry detergent, spices, and even oil come in this packaging form. Now, I agree that it's more ecological than throwing a plastic box or a cardboard box each time, but all those plastic bags make their way to the sea and rivers somehow...In Switzerland we use paper packages to store these pantry essentials, but it would not really work well in this humidity.
You might wonder  how to store all those soft packages. Well, each time you buy a new product, buy the solid container  to store it into. They have various plastic or even glass containers on the market (although you may not find the food and the right container in the same shop). For food products it's essential to store even spices in boxes, kitchens are invaded with corckroaches and even professional pesticides can't really get rid of them for long not to mention the high tropical humidity that will make any left opened packet of cookies soggy in just a few hours. Oil is sold in 5 litres bottles and you can refill them with the one litre pouches once it's empty.

Some products do come in tin boxes or cardboard box. Lemonades and other sodas comes in regular pet bottle (more plastic......). And believe me in 11 month here I becaume the absolute queen of recycling. I keep and use all packages that can be reused so to store other stuff. The plastic bags I get at the supermarket are all reused as garbage bags and since my maid empty the trash almost everyday,there is no problem of being invaded by them. Magazines come in plastic pouches (usless wrapping by the way) I keep those to wrap half cut vegetables, the newspapers are used as cutting board and then only they go to the trash.
And, I found out that lots of products that comes in plastic wrapping at the supermarket can be purchases at a grocery shop in bags or wrapping made of newspapers, which is way eco-friendlier.

I just wonder when people will stop using plastic to wrap useless things, though. Because wrapping a plastic container in a plastic wrap to sell it makes very little sense to me.


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