This commentary is not about bashing a whole company, or even a particular store. I shop at Trader Joe’s regularly, because it is within walking distance and I can get organic produce. Sometimes I purchase their prepared packaged foods also, but their Potato Masala Dosa simply has too much plastic packaging for one item. The food itself is good enough to merit a purchase, and at $1.99 for an 800-calorie meal it certainly is a good deal – but all the extra plastic ruins the consumer experience.
From the initial inspection, what you see is a harmless-looking paper box (pictured above), but once you open the plastic bag inside it, you can clearly see each dosa comes in its own plastic sheet, meaning their are four sheets of plastic inside the main plastic bag. Additionally, there is one small plastic bag containing coconut chutney. So there are a total of six pieces of plastic – all of which appears to be non-recyclable, for a single meal. Non-recyclable plastic is likely to wind up in a landfill – or worse, in a lake, river or ocean once it gets blown there eventually.
Criticizing one meal and its plastic package might seem like an overreaction, but consider the fact that if TJ’s sells one million Potato Masala Dosas, there are six million pieces of plastic that have to be dealt with, and ten million sold is sixty million pieces of plastic, etc.
There’s a simple solution to this excessive plastic waste for the single package meal – get rid of the four plastic sleeves for the dosas. It doesn’t matter if the dosas are stacked next to each other are touching, because even if they stick together somewhat, upon thawing they should be separable.
Even the chutney could be put in a small, paper container because it gets frozen solid and shouldn’t leak if the paper is thick enough.
Sorry Trader Joe’s, your Masala Dosa is a good product at a great price, but it contains far too much plastic for me to purchase again.
Image Credits: Author