Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Trim Those Packaging Pounds

It was heartening to read in the New York Times this past weekend about companies cutting down on packaging in order to reduce their impact on the environment. Major manufacturers such as Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, Aveda and countless others are tweaking designs in order to shed the extra layers and use more recycled and recyclable materials, all to retain a place on Wal-Mart's shelves now that the retail powerhouse has promised to become "packaging neutral" by 2025.

Companies say many of the easy changes to packages have already been made. Beverage cans are much lighter and most use recycled aluminum, shipping cartons contain large percentages of recycled fiber. But failure at the municipal level to collect recyclable materials could slow further progress.

Recycling in my city seems to be working at home but not well at all in the office. It's going to take more pressure from consumers to step up our municipal recycling programs. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a very good program - the WasteWise Program - to help organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment. I'm going to register our office for the program. WasteWise provides free technical assistance to help you develop, implement, and measure your waste reduction activities.

It's also up to consumers to choose those products made with the highest recycled content, and packaged in the leanest container made of easily recycled material. Buy household and office supplies in bulk, choose juice concentrates and use thermoses and check the recycle code on a container before you buy it to make sure it's recyclable. These are all ways to cut down on the amount of raw materials used and save energy and money along the way. To make it extra easy for yourself, download the Green Guide's handy Smart Shopper's Plastic Picks Card.

Trim Those Packaging Pounds [via The Green Guide]

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