Single Serve: Work by Kristin Zibell


What is this Single Serve package for?

The refrigerator at the office where I work contains free food, most of it being single-serving food wrapped in plastic. Each morning, I grab a Noosa single-serve yogurt for breakfast, which I eat at my desk. Every morning, I throw away the single use container into the trash, where it is deposited in a landfill.

One morning, I became very aware of how far this yogurt had traveled to be with me, how quickly I used it, and then threw it away. I examined each piece. The yoghurt is made by unseen people and animals in Colorado and had traveled to me by several trucks. The container was made of plastic, which is made of petroleum, which probably came to Noosa by way of many trucks. Both are sources of environmental destruction.  

This cup’s  purpose was only to transport and contain one single portion of manufactured food for one morning and one moment of hunger satiation of one person. It’s not recycled, it’s trash once it’s served it’s single purpose. I could not think of anything more disconnected to the earth, the body, to other people, and to the food supply than a single-serving container.

The pure things about being on this Earth are nature, human connection, and creation. This one packaged food was the opposite – artificial, disconnected, and manufactured. I collected the plastic single-serve wrappers and preserved them as European and American etymologists preserved specimens from a "new world" for the purpose of study, but to also capture a moment in time.

The immense amount of limited resources and time we pay to collect, manufacture, and dispose of something so temporary is wasteful.  There is no legacy with this trash, it’s a quick hit of nutrients (I won’t even call what I ate real food to get these artifacts) and it's done. 

When the world is burned and the human race mostly gone and what remains are piles of trash, we have the answer to, “what was it all for?” We gave what was good up for this single-serve existence.

About the Work