American Cheese Is About To Look Very Different

Cutting plastic from food packaging is a good thing for the environment, but it can also lead to problems for shoppers. Last month, Costco customers were left fuming after the traditional hard-shelled plastic containers for its $4.99 rotisserie chicken were ditched in favor of soft plastic bags. Costco said it made the change to cut plastic usage by 75%, but that led to complaints that the meat juice was leaking out into shopping carts, cars, and refrigerators. Now, new laws being passed in various states means further cuts to plastic packaging. American cheese that comes in packages where each slice is individually wrapped in plastic would be banned under the new guidelines. Under the new laws, shoppers can expect a future where they’re grabbing unwrapped products — from cereals to cheeses to hot dogs — from grocery store shelves before buying them and taking them home. There’s no question that such a drastic change in shopping habits will reduce the flow of packaging waste to landfills, but it does so at the risk of ignoring all we’ve gained in food preservation and health benefits associated with sanitary, airtight plastic packaging.