Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Garbage Becomes a Mounting Problem

An article in the New York Times about the return of garbage incinerators highlights an issue that our society needs to address. 

Garbage.

And I am not talking about the trash along the sides of the roadway, but rather the crushing load of garbage, estimated at 4.4 pounds per person per day.

I was shocked by that characterization of the amount of garbage per person per day until I took the trash out this morning. We generate a lot of garbage. I recycle aggressively and there is still a lot of garbage.

I looked into the trash and what did I find? Gratuitous packaging. There is a website devoted to over packaging called, simply, overpackaging. It is an interesting review. I feel that there is far too much packaging around products and that is needlessly contributing to the garbage crisis. 

I bought a new shirt over the weekend--it took me no less than five minutes to unpack the shirt with all of the plastic and straight pins and card board to make it look good. I still had to iron it before I wore it--so what was the purpose of all of the packaging--looks!


Likewise the apples purchased from Costco--the certainly look nice, but is all of the plastic really necessary around each apple? I think not.

One of the worst packaging offenders are razor blade makers. Huge packaging surrounding a small plastic container of razor blades--in fact I think razor blades are 95 percent packaging and 5 percent blades. 

Even new cars are over packaged. I have seen new cars covered with paper almost shrink wrapped, on their way to the dealers. 

Grappling with garbage is going to become a bigger issue soon. One way we can help is to demand minimal packaging. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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