mardi 14 avril 2009

Over-Packaging : Reduce before Recycle

Ever order something and it arrives in a really big box—a much-too-big box? Paper products, such as the cardboard boxes used for shipping and packaging, make up one-third of the municipal solid waste in the U.S. Could we cut back?

Consumer Reports says people routinely send in letters complaining about small items arriving in way too much packaging. To check the problem, Consumer Reports ordered small items from 13 companies, including Avon, Staples,, Oriental Trading Company, and Best Buy. Consumer Reports was really surprised to find that so many tiny items came in boxes that were way too big.

For example, a package from contained just one lip balm. A box from Avon arrived with just one lip balm as well. Inside a box from the Oriental Trading Company—just one small vial of beads. And a box from Staples—it could easily fit 200 pencils but contains…just one.

Not everything arrived over sized. A small pack of batteries ordered from Quixtar came in a small shipping envelope.

Less packaging could make a real difference. If Americans cut back the use of cardboard from 100 tons to 90, it would save more than 5,300 pounds of waste…20,000 gallons of waste water…and more than 34,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Some companies, such as Avon, Staples, and Lands End, told Consumer Reports that they recycle thousands of tons of cardboard a year.

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