My Newest Problem With Labels

While I am set with the actual look of my labels, I have a problem with something else: the waste! After I peel and stick my 2 x 4 labels on my jars, the empty sheet is left behind, glossy and useless. After labeling a few cases of jam, I was left with a pile of garbage that made me feel really uncomfortable.

Making jam is about not wasting. Historically, there was no refrigeration or mass transit of fruits and vegetables. People ate what they could, sold what they could and then canned what was left. Jam was made to preserve the fruit harvest as well as a way to get fruit in the diet in the middle of winter, when none was growing fresh.

Canning is done in glass jars, which are not just recyclable but reusable. Visit the home of any home canning enthusiast and they will surely have a closet full of empty jars stacked one on top of another. And when these jars aren’t sealed with home canned items, they can be used for storing leftovers, pencils, coins, candy, buttons, etc. People into canning are into jars and their many uses.

But now that my canning is a business, there is waste. And the waste is because of the labels. Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about that. The USDA requires labeling and people really expect it. I reckon it’s helpful for figuring out just what is inside the jars. It’s helpful to me, since these days everything I make seems to be bright red.

I’ve decided that after this current box of labels is used up, I am going to switch to recycled labels, which is what I originally wanted to use but then I got caught up in this idea of using a 2 inch diameter label, which didn’t come in recycled paper. But now I am back to the standard 2 x4 and am ready to go a little greener with my waste.

Will it ease my guilt?

Maybe a little. Not only are the new labels recycled, but they are also chlorine free.

But still, these questions remain:

Does the world really need more jam? Am I simply contributing more and more to the problem of consumerism by producing yet another item to consume?

I feel the answer is “yes,” but also “no.” I am trying to make a local product; to restructure the way we consume. I know old town life is never going to reappear in America, despite however many planned, walkable communities are built by developers. But by trying to participate in a food movement which doesn’t play by the corporate rules of the food machination, then maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something a little helpful. And maybe, just maybe, I can go to sleep tonite without a guilty conscience. Well, not too guilty, at least.


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