Wasteful packaging

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KarenNWendyn

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This is a rant.

Ever wonder about excessive and wasteful packaging? Think about Costco where a small item might be encased in a plastic package many times its size. All that plastic eventually ends up in a landfill, or even worse, in our waterways.

Then there are items we purchase online, shipped to us in packaging many times larger than the item itself.

And so it was today. A mystery email was sent to me yesterday by UPS. It promised a package would be forthcoming the following day. But I didn’t remember ordering anything recently. My curiosity was piqued. What could it be? A second email arrived today, “Your package will be delivered today.”

I had no clue.

And so this afternoon, the UPS truck pulls up my driveway, the driver comes out and rings the doorbell. My spouse is handed a large styrofoam container at least 1 cubic foot in size. The mystery deepens. Did someone send me food as a gift? I certainly wasn’t expecting anything of that nature.

We open the container. It is packed with multiple layers of plastic bubble wrap. Working through the bubble wrap and three ice packs (!), we find a tiny bottle of prescription hormone replacement tablets which I know to be stable at room temperature.

I recall that last week I ordered a refill of one of my prescriptions from my mail order pharmacy.

I’m half laughing and half livid. Am I going to receive a similar package each time I renew this medication? I think about where the styrofoam and plastic will eventually end up. This same little bottle of pills could just have easily been sent in a much smaller padded mailing envelope. Ok, so maybe this particular medication should not be subjected to extreme heat. I get it. But still..... gotta wonder.
 

ShiftKicker

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Once you really start thinking about it, the amount of plastic waste we produce is really outrageous. Amazon's all about increasing efficiency and reducing production time and processing cost- surely they'd be all over that kind of egregious waste!

We started separating out our plastics a while back because our municipality will take it at a few location for recycling. Once we started, it became very obvious most of our garbage was plastic packaging, wrappers, bags, clingfilm, etc.
 

KarenNWendyn

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We used to have plastics recycling days twice a year in our community. That stopped when China stopped taking our plastic waste. Who can blame them? I think it would be a no-brainer to recycle plastics in the US (as well as in other countries). That would create jobs. Hello Congress, are you listening?
 

ReginaS

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I agree. Terribly wasteful. I recycle but it is rather unclear what's happening to the recycled materials now. This is crazy.
My daughter encourages me to not use plastic bags for produce when shopping. If I can avoid it I will!
You know what else produces a huge about of packaging? The online cook a meal delivery services... I won't mention any names.
 

ShiftKicker

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The Philippines is sending several barges of "recycled" plastic back to us (Canada) after 6 years of it rotting in a port there. Completely justified- it wasn't just plastic, it was straight up garbage- we should dispose of it ourselves in Canada. The answer, apparently, is to burn it to generate electricity- we'll be lighting our houses in part with garbage power for the next few months in Vancouver once it arrives back home.
 

Clearwater AL

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We are fast running out of landfill places. No one wants one near
their neighborhood, Numerous counties don’t want them because
of road requirements (upgraded to handle heavy trucks $$), using
state land becomes a political mess and using Federal land is
prohibited. Purchasing land, excavation preparation and new
lining requirements is making the cost outrageous. Taxes to pay
for it.

Studies have predicted just as soon as 10 years this may be our
next environmental crisis.

The cost of trash/garbage pick up Commercial/Residential is going
soar (Commercial = grocery stores, Wal-Mart and etc. The cost
will have to passed on.).

Then the residential thing... as it becomes costly to have pick up
service it will cause many to resort to road side dumping.

Too bad some multi billion billionaire doesn’t offer a $10 million
dollar prize for a solution to this crisis on our horizon.

I have an idea but I think I'll wait... I could use the money. :)
 
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affected

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Hearing ya - I've been saying this stuff for years and years ...
Here the supermarkets don't have any regular plastic bags and if you don't bring your own bags for your groceries you have to buy recyclable bags. It is a fantastic initiative really.

The problem is that most recyclable materials are not very environmentally friendly either - it's all a con. Sisal is the most commonly used 'natural' and 'recyclable' material for bags and packaging. Yet growing it in large enough quantities has decimated the most incredible ecosystems in Madagascar. So we are still no further ahead in truth. But I better stop, these topics get me riding that horse and I'm galloping before I know it...
 

KimT

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When we play cards on Friday afternoon, we usually have between 20 and 35 players. I would guess 75% of them bring disposable plastic water bottles. A few of us have permanent bottles. Mine is glass covered in rubber. I've dropped it and it hasn't broken. I'm thinking that will be a good present to give some of the players.

Many of us use our own washable bags for groceries, avoiding both plastic or paper at checkout. The grocery stores should offer a discount for people for using them.

On the other hand, I'm a big offender of Healthy Chef delivered meals. We have plastic recycling at the condo but I'm not quite sure where it goes. On the plus side, I waste zero food and don't have to cook.
 

Nikki J

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The town where I used to live outlawed the plastic bags. I think you had to pay for paper i have sturdy bags that last for years. They are easier to handle and the groceries don’t get damaged. I am curious Regina what you use for produce if not the pastic bags? Suppose you were buying loose green beans for example? Even apples or other fruit would be rolling around and getting bruised. Now I get delivered groceries and they come in large heavy plastic bags. They will take them back next time for recycling whatever that entials
 

ReginaS

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For green beans or Belgian endive or similar - I use plastic bags as beans- no idea how I would do it otherwise and Belgian endive is delicate. The other things I just put in the cart, carefully and wash at home or I put them on top of something soft... Like bulk oats. At first I thought I cannot do it but my daughter asks me each time if I can leave out the bag. I can in many cases.
 

KarenNWendyn

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We have used washable and reusable nylon net bags for produce. We use reusable cotton grocery bags. Meat is always wrapped in plastic, unfortunately. No easy solution.

I hate seeing single use plastic bottles. I drink filtered tap water and use reusable BPA-free bottles.

The whole issue of what to do with plastic waste and styrofoam is a real dilemma.

I’m glad this thread has generated a lot of interesting discussion.
 

KateEmerson

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I'm not sure a would recommend my husband's/PALS solution to most people......he would litterly save every plastic food container that entered the house for reuse. It was so bad that I had to give up one whole cabinet in the kitchen for the storage of them. I finally had to set limits, one cabinet only, no we are not going to use an empty Tropicana container for a glass when I found one in the glass cabinet ( this was in the early 80s when we drank frozen OJ ), and no we are not going to store the empties in the refrigerator when your cabinet is full....yes he did try!
 

ReginaS

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How about this one: I don't buy poop bags for my dog but use plastic bags which I have from shopping. Though I don't use clear ones 😁
 

KarenNWendyn

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How about this one: I don't buy poop bags for my dog but use plastic bags which I have from shopping. Though I don't use clear ones 😁
Ditto. My favorite dog poop bags are plastic bags I reuse that originally encased account information from my various investments. These bags are labeled “important information inside”. 🤣
 

Clearwater AL

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Funny this topic came up… I’ve had an interest in this for a
few years.

Hate to be the downer to a good thing but a new development
is happening to threaten our efforts to help save our precious
planet.

The news doesn’t appear to be good for the recycling industry.
Plunging prices for scrap paper, plastics is now prompting some
cities to send the same to general landfills often miles away.

Sorting the various types of plastics by hand alone is huge

Sorting is costly; careful sorting and cleaning of plastics that
contain food remnants, labels, dog poop and other debris to get
the quality of plastics needed for reprocessing must be done by hand.

A typical conveyor belt line requires four workers on both sides (8) hand
sorting the different plastics to get the quality of plastics needed for
reprocessing... still leaves about 40% of waste plastics that has to be
disposed of. Wonder where that goes?

With the price of recycled plastics declining, recycling is becoming a
less profitable business. Several recycling plants have already closed.

The recycling industry is lobbying the government for subsidies.
More corporate welfare passed onto the deficit… (my opinion).
Something we will have to be willing to pay higher taxes for.
(My opinion).

Paper and cardboard is not as costly to process but it too has to be
sorted. Again… big staples, banding straps, heavily taped and plastic
embedded reinforcing corners.

It's a growing dilemma.
 
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