Wrapper Roundup

About one-third of our trash is packaging. One of the best ways to reduce the amount of trash we create is by becoming more aware of the amount of packaging we pay for every time we buy something. Try this experiment.

You Will Need:
One large cardboard box
Bathroom scale

Instructions:

  1. Save your packaging trash for one week, collecting it in a separate cardboard box. This includes anything used to wrap a product -- bags, glass and plastic bottles, boxes, cardboard.
  2. Identify and sort the different packaging materials. Weigh the empty box. Then put each pile in the box and subtract the weight of the box.
    How much does the paper weigh?
    How much does the cardboard weigh?
    How much does the plastic weigh?
    How much does the metal weigh?
    How much does the glass weigh?
  3. How many different kinds of plastic do you have?
    Number of thin films ("shrink wrap")?
    Number of plastic bags?
    Number of colored, flexible containers?
    Number of stiff, lightweight "styrofoam" containers?
    Number of soft "foam rubber" packages?
    Number of hard, transparent containers?
    Other types of packaging?
  4. Try to figure out why each type of packaging was used. Was it to keep something fresh? To protect it from breaking? For safety reasons? To make it more attractive so you'd be more likely to buy it? how much did you the packaging influence your decision to buy that product?
  5. Do you think any of the products you bought was overpackaged? Next time you shop, try to avoid these overpackaged products. Convince your friends and family to do the same. You'll be making a big difference, because the people who make and sell those products will see that consumers prefer to buy products without unnecessary packaging.


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