Both Sides Now
Six days from this post I am hosting a FaceBook Tupperware party. Hardly what would be expected from a MLM shy eco-girl. But then, I rarely live up to, or down to, expectations AND a wise life is lived in a multi-colored world. However much I seek or preach a simpler life, I try to avoid being simple. Maturity is teaching me that a happy life, a well lived life, a life that leaves the world a bit more for having been lived, is a life rife with failures and compromises.
I set out to make 2020 the year without plastic. I prepped in 2019 by replacing my shampoo, body washes, dish soap with bars. My counter cleaners, sanitizers, hand wash are in glass bottles either from Blue (tablets that come in paper packaging) or made from essential oils, white vinegar in a glass bottle, vodka in glass bottles, isopropyl alcohol in a glass bottle, etc. I use wax paper and rubber bands rescued from produce and VA med refill packages to cover food when it won’t fit into one of my many glass containers. Metal straws, reusable cups, reusable shopping bags, ocean plastic trashbags, white washcloths in a basket instead of paper towels; the list of changes is even longer, but my point is not to enumerate the ways I changed my habits or brag of my commitment to eco-stewardship. What I want to establish is the fact I am committed to leaving a livable earth to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
So, the question is then, with all this plastic purging, why mid-year am I giving a Tupperware party. I will answer in a paragraphed list.
- Pennywise and Pound Foolish, or how one piece of loooooong use plastic replaces huge resource use. I have a long green plastic piece of Tupperware from 198? that was meant to hold carrots or celery in the crisper with a bit of water to extend their life to weeks instead of days. A very important piece to own in the days that soups, lunches, salads, meatloaf and even jello contained nutritious and crunchy bits of these very cheap staples. This same container has been a spaghetti holder, waterproof document holder, Barbie container, Matchbox Track and car container, sock drawer organizer, and currently in a cupboard with my dry goods standing up in it so I can just pull it out and pick my bean, rice, or quinoa for my Foodi feasts. Think of all the resources saved by this one sturdy bit of plastic. So why Tupperware now? Reason one – I have never thrown out a piece of real Tupperware. I have gifted them to new householders, repurposed, or resold every piece of real Tupperware I have ever owned. The footprint of a one piece of Tupperware has replaced a beach worth of resource trampling, and they are BPA free. Compromise.
- Fresh is Best: Whether you are lucky enough to garden and raise your food, or like I do, depend on InstaCart and Senior Residential Dining to meet your nutritional needs, Tupperware products are designed to reduce single use or “only a few uses” storage choices. So here is where my “failure” came into play. (Brief background for any reader who is unfamiliar with these couple facts-I am a disabled mature female veteran who has a service dog and a walker, can no longer drive and lives in an Senior Independent Living Community-not safe to just live alone but still can dress and feed ourselves ;-). I was wasting food. Wax paper and glass bowls let everything taste like everything. Fresh produce rarely comes in single servings; head of celery, a melon, a squash, pint of berries, etc. I am wasting a lot of food and everything wasted has a footprint. Food must be planted, watered, harvested, packaged, shipped, stocked, shopped before I even get it. That is a lot of carbon footprint compared to small serving size plastic that will easily outlast me. Glass is heavy and slippery. I have tried and broken nearly a full set of Costco STURDY glass on glass storage containers. So I label my no plastic in my fridge a failed experiment, or as I prefer to think about it, a learning experience. As to that rather expensive set of glass on glass storage, I have two of the six left and the lids do make lovely little trays. Failure
- The Great Outdoors: Tupperware has an entire range of no plugs required prep products for cooking in the great outdoors or just reducing how much electricity I consume. Just Cool.
- What Counts is What’s Inside: With all their amazing prep and storage I can easily make my zucchini noodles, veggie sausage, and Hawaiian Ice without electricity, or cutting my little fingers. This is AWESOME!!!!!!! All of those right now require me to buy prepared ones. Which of course includes lots of ingredients and packaging that I don’t want in with the things I do. I have been trying to find one of these machines for awhile. Guess what’s on my shopping list! And once again, when I do the full eco-math. I am helping more than hurting. Compromise
- The company has a project, movement, or community called “No Time to Waste. Check it out at and take the pledge www.sustainability.tupperwarebrands.com
So that is why I am having a Tupperware Party. My BFF was having a party and invited me. So instead of immediately defaulting to my prejudices of “NO MLM,” “NO PLASTIC” and holding my eco-party line, I decided to think.
I knew I was looking for solutions to a lighter way to carry water in my service dogs saddle bag, a better way to stop wasting produce and leftovers, easily portable reusable silverware and straws, and needed my answers to consider the needs of the many as well as my own.
The invitation had been issued. I opened my mind about half-way and did some research. Talked to my friends to see who still had, used their Tupperware. The oldest piece in use here is approximately 60 years old. The longevity and policies of the company made me rethink my absolutism.
Next barrier to Tupperware is that I am a feminist and I know the history of the company and how the woman who made Tupperware what it is, was robbed of her idea and forced out, I know MLM’s are notorious to over-promising to new primarily female sales staff and under delivering. I can be pretty rigid and holier-than-thou in some of my long held liberal beliefs. Ask anyone who really knows me. So this was a tough one.
MLM’s are not ideal, often the bottom tier actually lose money. However digging a little deeper, due to the primary focus on product sales, an excellent product and a secondary focus on recruitment, the average hourly income of Tupperware reps is comparable (in my small research sample) to minimum wage jobs but most of the work hours are done at home. Not booking this party will not overturn the mysogony of the company history or their original model, but the company has actively addressed their current policies to address social concerns to the point I will give them a B-. As to weekend jobs offering better wage, opportunities or benefits; that answer is no, and a whole other Blog.
The more I researched, looking to justify a negative response to Tupperware, the more I saw the really big picture. The more I weighed my available choices and the consequences, the more convinced I also became that a few lifetime pieces of Tupperware were actually meeting my ethical goals.
Yup, why I am hosting a Tupperware party boils down to ethics and values. I believe in kindness, gratitude and compassion to everything and everyone. That is my core, my bottom line. This ethic is the source of my Anti-racist, Feminist, Eco-warrior agenda. When I looked at both sides, and did my research; I realized, that for me, supporting a kind, young woman who needs a bit more income while decreasing my overall carbon footprint and greatly reducing the trash I am making was the choice that correlated with my values. I am grateful I did not listen to my knee-jerk response because now I know that having this party will help me make the world a kinder, cleaner place while providing me with my needed solutions.
Not everyone will agree with my conclusions, nor do they need to agree, or should they. We determine our own core values. With core values in mind we need to research our choices and keep an open mind. We must educate ourselves in the range and scope of the consequences of these choices. Even with the same values we may come to different conclusions. And that is good, too. Perhaps this is a needed wisdom, this looking at both sides now, in much, much more than just whether to have a Tupperware Party