Friday, October 31, 2008

Sliced cheese dilemma

I love my dairy products. It is all about the milk and all the lovely items derived from it including cheese, ice cream and butter. This is not an inexpensive addiction, but one that was fostered by my childhood on a dairy farm and happily carried into my adulthood. For me, life would be quite unhappy without milk or its derivatives. One item that I like to eat is American sliced cheese. This is a great cheese product for toasted cheese sandwich or melted on top of burgers (beef or tofu), both quick dinner items when I neglected to plan a meal. However, this is one item where frugality and green living collide.

I can purchase American sliced cheese in a plastic package with each slice individually wrapped in plastic for $1.89 for 12 ounces or $2.52 per pound. I feel ridiculously wasteful unwrapping 3-4 slices of cheese from their plastic packaging to make one crispy toasted cheese sandwich.

Where I shop, the deli counter has sliced American cheese without packaging, but it is $4.99 per pound, almost twice as much as the prepackaged cheese slices. However, with the reduced packaging, these deli slices have a lower garbage footprint. I would not be throwing away 3-4 pieces of plastic every time I make a sandwich! So, what is a frugal dairy-loving gal to do?

This last shopping trip, the urge to live greener won. I paid more for American sliced cheese from the deli counter to reduce the amount of garbage I generated. I do not understand why it costs less to have a greater amount of packaging, but I am happier to not be throwing away several sheets of plastic every time I want a sandwich. There was a bonus to visiting the deli counter--I found the price for pepperoni was less than the packaged version.

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