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The Green Life: Packaging Fail: 13 Times More Wrapping than Product?

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December 21, 2010

Packaging Fail: 13 Times More Wrapping than Product?

Packaged world Matt from TreeHugger recently got a package: two gel ice packs, two moisture trappers, a large plastic bubble envelope, a crunch paper space holder, a heavy board box, and a chocolate box with inside riser, tissue, cups, foam protectors, and cellophane. And, finally, 4.5 ounces of chocolate from Argentina. The packaging materials weighed in at 3.75 pounds.

Packaging comprises almost a third of U.S. waste, according to the Clean Air Council. You can reduce that waste by voicing your concerns directly to the companies that produce it. Many  consumers already have: Packaging, especially plastic cases and air-bubble wrap, is the biggest source of customer complaints on Amazon.com. That’s not just because it's an environmental disaster; it's also an inconvenience. Customers are tired of jabbing knives at the plastic enshrining their new gadgets.

In response, Amazon is encouraging manufacturers to adopt “frustration-free packaging” made of recycled and recyclable materials such as cardboard. Only about 600 of the millions of products Amazon sells comply, but those that do have reduced negative feedback on Amazon by more than 70%.

Still craving that chocolate? Indulge in a sweet from a local confectionary that makes its products onsite from cocoa bought in bulk. Skip the package altogether.

--Natalya Stanko


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