Green tip for week #17 — Week of August 24, 2008

Reduce your use of “convenience packaging”

We all know that our consumer society has moved at lightspeed from a make it yourself / do it yourself community, to a “depend on others doing things for you to increase efficiency and convenience” community.

As a result, there has been a movement in the marketing/packaging/sales world away from such “inconvenient” things as a jar of applesauce to such “convenient” items as 10 plastic cups of applesauce made for single-serve use.  Or maybe you get a package of four Oreo cookies to avoid the inconvenience of having to take four Oreos out of the tray of Oreos in a traditional pacakge.

Sure, it’s convenient to drop a single-serve plastic cup of applesauce into your lunch bag, to grab a package of four Oreos, or to pop a juice box out of the fridge for the kids.  But with that convenience there is a clear environmental cost.  Packaging consumes resources.  Buying 20 small juice boxes instead of a one-gallon jug of juice means lots of packaging, lots of labels/lids/etc., and lots of resources in getting those small items onto the shelf at the store and into your home.

Unfortunately, I think its possible that people are even less likely to recycle such “small” packaged items than they would a large glass jar that the applesauce came in.  The bottom line is, if we care about our environment, and we care about reversing the trend from consumption to conservation and from “it’s not my problem” to “who will fix it if I don’t”, we have to start somewhere.

Our green tip for this week is to offer the simple suggestion that if  you are looking for ways to “be green” or live a green or environmentally responsible life, why not start with your applesauce, juice boxes, and everything else you buy in “convenience packaging”.

Remember that taking small steps today can lead to substantial benefits to the environment tomorrow!

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