Does this taste like cardboard?

May 19, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

Yes, boomers, the circle has finally turned, unbroken. It had a slight detour along the way. My online supermarket delivery of groceries and foods appears now in paper bags. We are encouraged to stop using single use plastic bags and containers. Reuse, recycle most of my paper bags wind up in one recycling bin.

Our local supermarket ten minutes away is that source of all foods. It was originally one of the first air conditioned stores opened in an Australian suburb. It offered the once young yummy mummies American style muzak, and a vast range of choices.

Way back then in the late sixties, all our goodies were placed in brown paper bags. Sometimes those bags would split or rip open as shopping was carried indoors at home. Some supermarket staff had placed squishy items at the base of the bag. Then, inevitably, our tomatoes or apples would go rolling away down the driveway. If we dropped a bag, or it split, this had a negative effect on the long term survival of the eggs.

In those long gone days, there the supermarket even had a designated bag stacker at the end of each checkout. This influx of supermarkets meant the demise of our corner grocery store, reappearing even today as a milk bar. It has a different array of produce. The local butcher and greengrocer at the end of the street all disappeared along progress lane.

Everyone preferred to shop at the supermarket, appreciating a new shopping experience. Most of the packaging then was cardboard. Weetbix, oats, frozen pies, drink containers, jubblies, were all packaged in little boxes. Plastic lining had not been developed. Everything had a cardboard taste, which added to our teenage flavours. For example, my mum discovered Rice-a-Riso, appearing in a cardboard box. My father was not a big fan of rice, so as he ate this new dish, he asked, “Does this taste like cardboard to you?”

Very  tasty.

Along came plastic packaging, such as plastic bags for cornflakes, within a shrunken box. All placed in plastic shopping bags. These were quite useful to many of us, very handy for kitchen wastes. No more! I must say I now purchase some medium plastic waste bags for messy kitchen wastes. Cardboard boxes and brown paper bags are not suitable for some forms of garbage. Now, the circle is unbroken. The current trend is to develop and use recyclable cardboard packaging and containers for foods and other grocery items. Latest trends want us to invent ways to use these formats. This does remind me of my early days in teaching. Primary teachers use all found and donated materials, including cardboard.

Construction activities with cardboard can be fun. Many of our pupils proudly painted masks made from paper bags. Very creative. More than a few waged battles with cardboard swords, or weapons. Then they even used to wear cardboard Ned Kelly armour, duly decorated. This was creating Authentic Australiana, cardboard bushrangers. Great ideas for current grandparents, recycle for fun, simple and happy.

At family birthday or Christmas celebrations, did the young ones in your clan play with the wrapping paper, and hide in the cardboard containers, leaving the toys for later? Old teachers can turn any given occasion into a song. Here is one from our younger years.

After the paper bags, we will all be recycled into “Little Boxes”. Some enlightened soul has already invented and advocates recycling cardboard coffins, waiting for us all. So is it to be “Little Boxes”, or “The Circle shall be Unbroken”? See you for recycling, in the sweet bye and bye. One day, not really sure when………..

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