Food and drink: Wasted after the party 

Over-wrapping it up, or why the heck can’t we recycle pizza boxes?

Whew! The sidewalks are pretty much rolled up after the big Telus World Ski and Snowboard Fest. About all that's left now is all that party garbage - burger wrappers, slushy cups, beer cans, more beer cans, dog-poo-for-dummies bags, plastic-water-for-dummies bottles, juice boxes, candy wrappers, pizza boxes, chip bags and a whole lot more.

It was a nice symmetry that as the big fest was coming to a close Whistler Blackcomb received kudos as one of Canada's greenest employers. Part of their commendable effort has been reducing waste by 50 per cent.

But back to those garbage cans in the village... 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 or however many people it was can leave a lot of stuff behind.

What's that old cliché Parks Canada drilled into us in the '80s? Take only pictures, leave only footprints? Hmm, we didn't quite bring that one home last week.

It's amazing how "packaged" just about every food item we consume has become. Bubble packs for jelly beans. Salad greens in plastic tubs the size of a shoebox. Deli-to-go Styrofoam boxes painted as prettily as a piece of Japanese lacquer ware with a little spring roll inside that you could probably carry in your fingers and eat on the way home.

I'm still waiting, waiting - can you hear my tweaky foot-tapping? - for B.C. to get organized and ban plastic grocery bags.

Hey, politicians, what happened to that one? Did your feet get tangled up in the billions of them? Did you see the photo of the sea turtle gagging on the blue plastic bag hanging out of its mouth? Did you know the dead zone in the middle of the Pacific - the Northern Pacific Gyre it's called - is stuffed to the gills with plastic, most of it bits from food products, and it covers an area the size of two states of Texas.

And that's just the big, eye-catching stuff. Right now I'm dumping onto my desk the contents of a little five-inch basket that once held Chinese tea samples and now sits in our kitchen's junk drawer.

It holds all the fat elastic bands and dark blue foil-wrapped wires that are wound around the broccoli these days. We can hardly imagine buying a bare-naked stem of broccoli anymore instead of these pre-bundled clusters with their Earthbound Farms labels with recipes, no less, attached along with the SKU numbers for the cashier's scanner and easy store inventory keeping. Or cherry tomatoes that aren't in a plastic bubble or red mesh bag, or celery that isn't in a plastic bag with bright labelling splashed all over it. We have moved from raw food to food presented as product.

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