Products carry excess waste – Metro US

Products carry excess waste

We all do it: running home late from school or work, in need of a quick meal, we pick up a package of lettuce, perhaps some pre-packaged peppers, a small packet of dressing, and maybe a frozen pizza.

By the time we get all the wrapping off our food, we’ve filled a whole bag with recyclable material! I’m not knocking the convenience of prepared foods, but I am concerned with how much we’re clogging our environment.

And I’m noticing more now, at this gift-giving time of year, that children’s toys come with an absurd amount of packaging. Some items can’t even be opened by hand, but require a knife or scissors. I appreciate the child-friendly and safety issues, however, I find it completely unnecessary to tie each and every part of a particular toy to the box and then tape over the ties!

Yes, it’s a pain in the ass, but I’m not just bitching about the inconvenience and excess amount of time it takes to open these toys. It’s the same deal with food packaging — I’m really concerned about the amount of waste and “recycling” that we produce on a daily basis.

Shouldn’t we, the consumers, be making a stand? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to let the manufacturers know that we don’t need all that excess packaging? I’m starting to look at my purchases now from a different perspective — and I’m already over-evaluating everything!

It’s not just about buying a toy you think is fun anymore. There’s the age-appropriateness, whether or not it’s safe, whether it was made safely in China adhering to our standards, value for cost, and now whether or not it can even be opened.

Five years ago, William McDonough & Michael Braungart wrote a book called Cradle To Cradle, which examines how industry can easily change the way things are made by utilizing all the knowledge we have about our ecology and our environment. Instead of creating things and using them until they are useless, they describe how technologically-advanced industries can create things that once finished with, can be re-made into something else just as useful.

As a working example, the book itself is written on synthetic “paper” made from plastic resins and inorganic filler. It looks and feels just like paper, but is waterproof and rugged, and can be used again. It’s the cradle-to-cradle cycle.

The point is that instead of using things and then throwing them away, we can recycle them to use them again and again, creating less waste for our environment to dispose.

I’m sure many of you feel that we’re burdening our ecosystem. Does anyone have any ideas to send me about how we, as consumers, can show manufacturers how we feel? I’d be happy to publish some of your thoughts on this.

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Lisi Tesher is a freelance writer and photographer living in Toronto with her husband and two children. She cares passionately about social injustices, children’s health and education, and diversity.