Saturday, July 15, 2017

Living in the World of Over-Packaging

This was the scene on my kitchen floor the other morning, upon tidying up my pantry and fridge. Near-empty boxes that got emptied, items rearranged where they lived on the shelves, and nicely organized. Of course, this is a mere fraction of the food items that live in my pantry. But this is a lot of grocery store, consumer waste.

I've said it before: I'm NOT a fan of packaging. Over-packing, more like it. (My particular pet peeve are plastic wrapped fruit... if only they came in their own natural packaging.  Oh wait, they do!)

I've been writing about over-packaging (and other environmental issues) for almost 10 years now.  And my last post was on how plastic that ends up in the ocean is one of my biggest pet peeves. Yet, we're still here. *Sigh.* There's a frustration that comes with that for me personally.

There's also a false sense of security that we all grasp hold of: "At least I'm recycling all of that over-packaging." Yes... but, it is indeed false. The mantra: "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" is in that order for a reason. Recycling is purposely last--but, we hang our hat on that as though we are Superman, saving our planet. I've written about "wishcycling"before, which certainly falls in the same department.

So what can we do, aside from pulling our hair out and taking yet another bag of Costco-aftermath to the recycle bin??

I think the biggest, most important place to start is at the "Rethink" stage. By starting there, and framing everything else around that, we can begin to make the changes.

Additionally, we vote everyday with our shopping dollars. Like my friend did when she bought me the 4Ocean bracelet. Her hard earned dollars were going for the eco good! By rethinking how we spend our hard-earned money, we will make a difference over time. That can start with us turning our focus toward buying items that are packed in post-consumer waste and boxes made of recycled materials. Likewise, it can also help to offset some of the ways we have created the problems in the first place, like 4Ocean does.

Plus, we can always go forward as eco-activists, bringing our bags and cups, containers, stainless steel straws, and more.

Of equal importance: we can be educating our youth (and the not-so-young), on ways to follow suit. With a growing population of common and shared knowledge toward being sustainability-focused, we can do it... even if it takes 10+ more years to make it happen!

Packaging image from my camera; Rethink images from and

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