Friday, August 29, 2008

My love affair with Tetra Pak

I keep forgetting to share with you one of the most exciting events of our first year here; it's inexcusable. It's the next chapter in the thrilling Tetra Pak story. Read on, Pakfans!

First, though, let me say that I wish that I were socially active in some other, better way. The energies I put into pursuing a relationship with TP could surely have been applied in a more conscientious way, like writing letters for Amnesty International or something. I know. I am thinking of the letter I wrote to the manager of our local Jewel store growing up, because their sample server stoutly and rudely refused to serve me without my "mommy." Why couldn't I have written someone about the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa instead? In summary: I am still working on my social conscience. (The manager of the Jewel called me to apologize personally, by the way.)

But since I did already invest this energy, I am happy to report that the TP people are the best! They tried really hard to arrange a plant tour in Switzerland, even though I said I would travel anywhere for it. When they couldn't work anything out, they sent me a video! I was/am slightly embarrassed by it, as it is clearly intended for children learning about the recycling process at school, but I have to say it is a really neat free video. I was able to watch it with Kraftman, my visiting engineer friend, and he enthusiastically gave me special insights about machinery and the inner-workings of factories. (My engineer husband was really sick of my TP craze by then. But even he dropped by to admire the one-operator machine that drove into the forest, chopped trees, stripped them and stacked them into neat log piles.)

The video traced the entire TP process from beginning (tree harvesting) to end (recycling into new products). Unfortunately my burning question, the one about how exactly the layers of paper were separated was not exactly answered. I think we concluded that it was a big magnet and some sucky-air thing. But it was fascinating, and I am forever grateful to the consumer-savvy people at Tetra Pak who know how to keep a customer enthusiastic.

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