There are three main problems with over-packaging:
1)It wastes raw materials, usually cardboard, plastic and sometimes Styrofoam too. The more cardboard that is used, the more trees that are cut. The more plastic that is used, the more petroleum is used.
2)Over packaged goods are heavier to ship, wasting more fuel in the distribution process;
3)Over packaging creates more waste filling up our landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one-third of our waste is due to packaging.
Clearly, some packaging is required to keep goods and products clean, safe and free from wear and tear. However, right-packaging (as opposed to over-packaging) should be a low hanging fruit for any business; they would save money on packaging and shipping costs in addition to helping the environment. A great example is Dell who in December of 2008 changed to greener packaging and that has resulted in savings of over $8 Million over 4 years and eliminate 20 Million pounds of packaging.
What You Can Do:
-It may sound obvious but buy products with the least amount of packaging
- Buy bulk and, where necessary, separate out individual servings into your own reusable containers;
- Vote with your pocket; choose the goods or products with the least amount of packaging or the environmentally friendly packaging.
- Recycle your packaging. For a list of your local recycling centers, visit Earth911.org;
- Reuse your packaging - hang onto those Styrofoam peanuts and cardboard boxes they might come in handy. I see a lot of people requesting these on FreeCycle.org;
- Buy or acquire used wherever possible to reduce the environmental burden of the product, its packaging and shipping. And you'll save money too;