Friday, 18 November 2011

My Beans Dilemma

Baked beans are an incredibly versatile food stuff. Pop them in stews or pasta sauces, have them with your full English, on toast or a baked potato; they're great however you eat them. They are low fat, vegetarian and one of your five a day portions of fruit and veg, definitely a super-food.

Their simplicity is one reason why they're so useful at lunch times. Take in a few slices of bread and you can easily have beans on toast for lunch and feel all warmed inside and healthy too. It's not a huge hassle, but taking them out the tin, finding a microwavable  container, cooking them and then washing up all seems more effort than taking sandwiches. Then there's the problem of size, one tin is a little too big for a lunchtime and the smaller tins at 150g are just not quite enough. So the new 200g snack pots are great because you have the right amount of beans for lunch and you can pop the plastic containers straight into the microwave and then bin them straight after.

It's so easy. Just open, cook, then bin the packaging. But that's "bin the packaging" not recycle the packaging. One of my favourite things about baked beans is that (apart from the plastic wrapping around 4 packs) they come in completely recyclable packaging. I've never met anyone who wouldn't automatically recycle tins, it's ingrained in our lifestyles. But the new plastic containers are much harder to recycle. I definitely can't here in Preston, I might have been able to recycle the main pot at university in Durham but not the plastic film lid. So the question is, do I sacrifice sustainable packaging for convenience of cooking?

I don't have an answer to that. I love the convenience of the new pots, but hate the waste that the new product brings over the old version. It seems backwards to move from a sustainable packaging to non-sustainable. Maybe I am being a little naive about what people do with their tins at work, I might be in the minority to carefully wash mine and pop into my bag to take home to recycle if there aren't facilities in the office. For now I'm sticking to leftovers and sandwiches but I'm still jealous of colleagues who sit eating their warm (just the right amount of) beans on toast at lunch time.

What are your green dilemmas? Post a comment to discuss!

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