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2.27.2011

PLASTIC, CARDBOARD, GLASS

I loved kindergarten.  There were so many cool things to do - the sand box table (elevated sand at waist level - wow!), the mini library, this really cool low mushy chair, oodles of construction paper, napping mats, carpet squares for story time, big huge letters hung around the room with pictures of things signifying that letter.  One of the best parts of kindergarten was snack time.  A member of the cafeteria staff would wheel in a cart with three milk choices - chocolate, white (whole milk in that era) and strawberry.  I never picked white.  Usually it was chocolate, but once in awhile I would mix it up and choose strawberry.  In the 60's and 70's in schools milk came in small pint or half-pint cardboard containers.  In fact, most milk even outside of the kindergarten classroom, was sold in cardboard half gallons - usually a twin pack.  Plastic did not reign the world as we know it now.  I loved cardboard milk containers, mostly because when you poured them into a glass there were no plastic particles floating toxically in your glass.  I have a plastic pint container of 2% milk I use in my coffee.  Every morning when I unscrew the lid to pour some in my coffee there are small plastic flakes that make their way into my cup.  I hate that!  I tried this week to remember when they quit making milk in cardboard containers - 2 half gallons joined together.  Though they still use cardboardish containers for soy milk, cream and lactose free milk.  Why do I really care about the whole milk container thing, I don't know.  I really don't drink milk ever, except a bit in my coffee (it's my attempt to use less half & half).  Pop (northerners version ) or soda (the southern way) or coke (an eastern generic grouping of all carbonated beverages) also has taken on a metamorphosis in the container it is housed in.  When I was growing up pop was typically bought (though there were aluminum or metal cans of some type) in carrying cases of 8 glass bottles.  The bottles were returnable.  They were taken back by each soft drink company, sterilized and refilled.  There is nothing like the taste of a cold pop drank straight out of a glass bottle.  In fact, there used to be pop machines that dispensed small glass bottles of pop.  My grandparents had such a machine at their country store.  I'm not a beer drinker (not morally opposed, just don't like the taste), but those that are tell me beer is better served ice cold out of a glass bottle.  My favorite beverage is a carbonated juice called IZZE.  Now I have tried IZZE out of the aluminum can and out of the glass bottle.  There is no comparison.  Glass makes it taste clearer and colder.  I'm not sure why they ever stopped selling pop in glass bottles.  I would think better for the environment would be reusable glass bottles which don't leach a metal taste into the beverage.  It was a bit of a pain in the ass to take back the returnable glass bottles, but I wish they'd bring them back, along with cardboard milk containers.  Metal tasting pop and plastic droppings just don't seem too healthy!

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